Theory in Biosciences

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 175–178

Estimation of species extinction: what are the consequences when total species number is unknown?

Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s12064-014-0202-2

Cite this article as:
Chen, Y. Theory Biosci. (2014) 133: 175. doi:10.1007/s12064-014-0202-2


The species–area relationship (SAR) is known to overestimate species extinction but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear to a great extent. Here, I show that when total species number in an area is unknown, the SAR model exaggerates the estimation of species extinction. It is proposed that to accurately estimate species extinction caused by habitat destruction, one of the principal prerequisites is to accurately total the species numbers presented in the whole study area. One can better evaluate and compare alternative theoretical SAR models on the accurate estimation of species loss only when the exact total species number for the whole area is clear. This presents an opportunity for ecologists to simulate more research on accurately estimating Whittaker’s gamma diversity for the purpose of better predicting species loss.


Diversity partitioning Species–area curve Power-law models Biodiversity conservation Biodiversity crisis 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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