Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/geb.12422
Title (Primary) Delineating probabilistic species pools in ecology and biogeography
Author Karger, D.N.; Cord, A.F.; Kessler, M.; Kreft, H.; Kühn, I. ORCID logo ; Pompe, S.; Sandel, B.; Cabral, J.S.; Smith, A.B.; Svenning, J.-C.; Tuomisto, H.; Weigelt, P.; Wesche, K.
Source Titel Global Ecology and Biogeography
Year 2016
Department CLE; BZF; iDiv
Volume 25
Issue 4
Page From 489
Page To 501
Language englisch
Keywords Biodiversity; community assembly; community composition; gamma diversity; local species pool; probabilities; regional species pool; spatial scale; species distribution modelling; species richness
UFZ wide themes RU1


To provide a mechanistic and probabilistic framework for defining the species pool based on species-specific probabilities of dispersal, environmental suitability and biotic interactions within a specific temporal extent, and to show how probabilistic species pools can help disentangle the geographical structure of different community assembly processes.


Probabilistic species pools provide an improved species pool definition based on probabilities in conjunction with the associated species list, which explicitly recognize the indeterminate nature of species pool membership for a given focal unit of interest and better capture real-world complexity. Probabilistic species pools provide a quantitative assessment of how dispersal, environmental or biotic factors influence estimates of species pool composition and size for a given temporal extent.


Based on one simulated and two empirical examples we demonstrate that probabilistic species pools allow us to disentangle the geographical variation in dispersal, environmental and biotic assembly processes for species assemblages in focal units. We also show that probabilistic species pools are fully compatible with traditional definitions of species pools and are applicable over a wide range of spatial and temporal extents. Additionally they are robust to missing data and provide a quantified and transparent approach to estimating the size and composition of species pools in a mechanistic way, providing a valuable tool for studies from community ecology to macroecology.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Karger, D.N., Cord, A.F., Kessler, M., Kreft, H., Kühn, I., Pompe, S., Sandel, B., Cabral, J.S., Smith, A.B., Svenning, J.-C., Tuomisto, H., Weigelt, P., Wesche, K. (2016):
Delineating probabilistic species pools in ecology and biogeography
Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 25 (4), 489 - 501 10.1111/geb.12422