Luís Borda de Água (CIBIO-InBIO) | October 22, 2014 - 12h00 | CIBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Species abundance distributions are an essential tool in describing the biodiversity of ecological communities. We now know that their shape changes as a function of sample size. Therefore, instead of the traditional approach of trying to fit the distribution at fixed spatial scales, we analyse the scaling properties of species abundance distributions by using the moments of the logarithmically transformed number of individuals. We find that the moments exhibit a power law behavior as a function of area size and we can use this pattern to estimate the species abundance distribution for larger areas than those sampled. To reconstruct the distribution from its moments, we use discrete Tchebichef polynomials. We exemplify the method with data on tree and shrub species from a 50ha plot of tropical rain forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. We assess the method within the 50ha plot, and then we predict the species abundance distribution for areas up to 5 km2.


Luís Borda de Água has a degree in Electrical Engineering, after which he studied Physics before doing his PhD in Ecology at Imperial College, London. After finishing his PhD he worked at several universities in Canada and the United States before returning to Portugal. He is interested in theoretical ecology, particularly in the development of models to describe biodiversity patterns and processes, and in the application of quantitative methods to practical problems in biodiversity conservation. Luís has joined CIBIO-InBIO very recently, and will be looking forward to the chance of getting to know other CIBIO-InBIO’s members and their research and to share his own work and expertise with us.


Image credits: Luís Borda de Água