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Estimating the snake species richness of the Santubong Peninsula (Borneo): a computer-simulation

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The snake species richness of the Santubong Peninsula, Sarawak, Borneo, has been estimated previously by fitting a Weibull model to the rarefied species accumulation curve. In the present study, the estimation procedure was simulated in order to shed more light on its validity, i.e. its accuracy and precision. First, the estimate was updated on the basis of an additional, small-scale, survey carried out in 2011. Subsequently, survey-data were used to construct a simulation database. Twenty samples were randomly drawn from this database. Each sample was transformed into a rarefied species accumulation curve to which a Weibull model was fitted. For comparison, various related models were fitted as well. All applied models resulted in a downwardly biased estimate. The Weibull model performed best, providing the estimate of species richness with the smallest bias and thus highest accuracy. As for the precision of the estimate, a rather wide confidence interval was established.


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