Skip to main content

The botanist effect: counties with maximal species richness tend to be home to universities and botanists

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Abstract Aim 

To investigate the distribution of local flowering plant species richness in areas surrounding American universities. Methods 

Species richness in university counties was compared with neighbouring counties. Data were derived from Synthesis of the North American Flora ( Probabilities of the resultant distribution were calculated, and the results were also simulated. Results 

In almost every case there were more species reported in the university county than in its neighbours. Several possible explanations were considered. We conclude that the key element is the presence of botanists in these counties who have, apparently, paid more attention to plants near at hand, and found more species of them there. Main conclusions 

Ecologists must be aware that numerical data that appear very solid, collected over many decades, may represent not only the qualities of ‘nature’ but also something of the collectors of the data.

Keywords: Collecting bias; North American flora; comparative analysis; distributional data; inventory data; plant diversity; plant richness; sampling bias; scientific behaviour; simulation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Publication date: 2006-11-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more