Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of tropical arthropod species richness

Andrew J. Hamilton, Yves Basset, Kurt K. Benke, Peter S. Grimbacher, Scott E. Miller, Vojtech Novotný, G. Allan Samuelson, Nigel E. Stork, George D Weiblen, Jian D.L. Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

134 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a bewildering range of estimates for the number of arthropods on Earth. Several measures are based on extrapolation from species specialized to tropical rain forest, each using specific assumptions and justifications. These approaches have not provided any sound measure of uncertainty associated with richness estimates. We present two models that account for parameter uncertainty by replacing point estimates with probability distributions. The models predict medians of 3.7 million and 2.5 million tropical arthropod species globally, with 90% confidence intervals of [2.0, 7.4] million and [1.1, 5.4] million, respectively. Estimates of 30 million or greater are predicted to have <0.00001 probability. Sensitivity analyses identified uncertainty in the proportion of canopy arthropod species that are beetles as the most influential parameter, although uncertainties associated with three other parameters were also important. Using the median estimates suggests that in spite of 250 years of taxonomy and around 855,000 species of arthropods already described, approximately 70% await description.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume176
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

Fingerprint

arthropod
arthropods
uncertainty
species richness
species diversity
parameter uncertainty
model uncertainty
probability distribution
tropical rain forests
confidence interval
beetle
canopy
Coleoptera
taxonomy
parameter

Keywords

  • Coleoptera
  • Global richness estimate
  • Host specificity
  • Latin hypercube sampling
  • Stochastic model
  • Tropical rain forest insects

Cite this

Hamilton, A. J., Basset, Y., Benke, K. K., Grimbacher, P. S., Miller, S. E., Novotný, V., ... Yen, J. D. L. (2010). Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of tropical arthropod species richness. American Naturalist, 176(1), 90-95. https://doi.org/10.1086/652998

Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of tropical arthropod species richness. / Hamilton, Andrew J.; Basset, Yves; Benke, Kurt K.; Grimbacher, Peter S.; Miller, Scott E.; Novotný, Vojtech; Samuelson, G. Allan; Stork, Nigel E.; Weiblen, George D; Yen, Jian D.L.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 176, No. 1, 01.07.2010, p. 90-95.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hamilton, AJ, Basset, Y, Benke, KK, Grimbacher, PS, Miller, SE, Novotný, V, Samuelson, GA, Stork, NE, Weiblen, GD & Yen, JDL 2010, 'Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of tropical arthropod species richness', American Naturalist, vol. 176, no. 1, pp. 90-95. https://doi.org/10.1086/652998
Hamilton AJ, Basset Y, Benke KK, Grimbacher PS, Miller SE, Novotný V et al. Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of tropical arthropod species richness. American Naturalist. 2010 Jul 1;176(1):90-95. https://doi.org/10.1086/652998
Hamilton, Andrew J. ; Basset, Yves ; Benke, Kurt K. ; Grimbacher, Peter S. ; Miller, Scott E. ; Novotný, Vojtech ; Samuelson, G. Allan ; Stork, Nigel E. ; Weiblen, George D ; Yen, Jian D.L. / Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of tropical arthropod species richness. In: American Naturalist. 2010 ; Vol. 176, No. 1. pp. 90-95.
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