Community Ecology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 159–162 | Cite as

A scale-free approach to subtaxon-to-taxon ratios

  • M. Marignani
  • C. RicottaEmail author
  • F. Rossi
  • A. Pavesi
  • G. C. Avena


Subtaxon-to-taxon ratios such as the species-to-genus ratio have been frequently used in ecology and biogeography despite their well-known sample size dependence. For instance, any subtaxon-to-taxon ratio is an increasing function of the area sampled. Hence, its validity as an ecological indicator is problematic at best. This drawback can be avoided by constructing taxon-subtaxon curves. Owing to their scale-free nature, taxon-subtaxon curves standardize the information in subtaxon-to-taxon ratios allowing for meaningful comparison of datasets.


Sample size dependence Scaling Taxon-area curves Taxonomic diversity 


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2004

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Marignani
    • 1
  • C. Ricotta
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Rossi
    • 1
  • A. Pavesi
    • 1
  • G. C. Avena
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”RomeItaly

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