We advertised our ideas at the International Biogeography Society meeting in Bayreuth, Germany.

Invariances and non-invariances in biogeography and macroecology: looking for fundamental scales

Arnošt L. Šizling, William E. Kunin, Even Tjørve, David Storch

In recent decades macroecologists have been searching for general patterns in ecology. However, most of the patterns were shown to be scale, location or taxon dependent. To give some examples, (i) frequency distribution of species abundances in a site (SAD) depends on SADs in its sub-sites, and (ii) increase of species richness with sampled area (SAR) is slower for taxa with smaller individuals. In some cases, the patterns for different parameters such as the area or taxon in question can be mathematically converted to each other. For instance, the SAD of a site can be computed from the SADs for sub-sites, and SAR for two taxa can be mathematically composed from the SARs of its sub-taxa.
Such mathematically constrained relationships between patterns at different scales or for different taxa raise two questions: What is the fundamental scale and taxonomical level at which the processes beyond the patterns act? and What are the scales and taxonomical levels for which the ecological patterns are derived?
We suggest that the next decade should be devoted to searching for fundamental levels in ecology and demonstrate a method to test their existence.