Disentangling scale dependencies in species environmental niches and distributions
Understanding species’ responses to environmental conditions, and how these species–environment associations shape spatial distributions, are longstanding goals in ecology and biogeography. However, an essential component of species–environment relationships – the spatial unit, or grain, at which they operate – remains unresolved. We identify three components of scale‐dependence in analyses of species–environment associations: 1) response grain, the grain at which species respond most strongly to their environment; 2) environment spatial structure, the pattern of spatial autocorrelation intrinsic to an environmental factor; and 3) analysis grain, the grain at which analyses are conducted and ecological inferences are made.
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