The exclusion of rare species from community-level analyses
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An accurate assessment of animal abundance is essential to understand the effects of natural variables of anthropogenic activities on wildlife communities. Many studies attempting to assess the effects of such impacts on wildlife communities use only a portion of species present to render management recommendations for an entire community. Abundance is often not calculated for all species detected, and species are excluded from community-level analyses due to their rarity. To determine how frequently authors excluded species from their analyses, we reviewed 190 articles from 11 wildlife-related journals published from 1983-2001. Of the articles we reviewed, 31% did not include all species in their analyses due to small sample sizes. Of the articles excluding species from calculations, abundances were not calculated for an average of 50% of the species detected due to small sample sizes. These studies made management recommendations for entire communities or areas based on <50% of the species present. We suggest alternatives to excluding species from community-level analyses. By reducing the number of species excluded from community-level analyses due to small sample sizes, researchers can make more accurate assessments of the effects of natural and anthropogenic factors on wildlife communities.
author list (cited authors)
Queheillalt, D. M., Cain, J. W., Taylor, D. E., Morrison, M. L., Hoover, S. L., Tuatoo-Bartley, N., ... Keough, H. L.