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Species-Area Relationships

Author(s): Lou Gross1, Monica Beals1, Susan Harrell1

University of Tennessee Knoxville

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This module introduces species-area curves in the context of understanding spatial diversity patterns. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 15 Feb 2019 doi:10.25334/Q48B21 - cite this


This activity maps to the OpenStax biology textbook, 47.1 The Biodiversity Crisis

Student Introduction: The relationship between island area and the number of species is well known: larger islands contain more species than smaller islands. "Islands" can be used to refer not only to pieces of land surrounded by water but to habitat islands as well (lakes, forest fragments, etc.). Although the relationship is clearly demonstrated by many taxa, the causes of the relationship are less clear. This is possibly the most general pattern found in ecology, and many explanations have been proposed.

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