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Nematode spatial distribution and the frequency of zeros in samples

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In the first longitudinal study of nematode spatial distribution with sufficiently large samples to estimate Taylor’s power law (TPL), we concluded that TPL is sensitive to life history strategy. We also observed that the value of TPL slope b was generally higher for more widespread and abundant taxa. We deduce that removal of empty samples increases b and discuss the results in relation to known causes of bias in estimating TPL. Only one cause might explain an increase in b with removal of empty quadrats: the underestimation of variance. Although bias cannot be ruled out in rare taxa, the consistency of the pattern with very abundant genera suggests a different explanation. TPL appears sensitive to the number of samples in a survey that do not contain the taxon of interest. We conclude that TPL measures the space between individuals as well as the density-dependence of the numerical distribution of abundance.

Affiliations: 1: 1Blackland Research Center, Texas A&M University, Temple, TX 76502, USA ; 2: 2Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, OARDC, Wooster, OH 44691, USA ; 3: 3Center for Applied Plant Science, The Ohio State University, OARDC, Wooster, OH 44691, USA ; 4: 4Department of Biology, College of Sciences, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX 78539, USA

*Corresponding author, e-mail:

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