Spatial autocorrelation in marine birds

  • David C. Schneider


All marine organisms exhibit some degree of spatial autocorrelation, which is the tendency for high (or low) densities to occur in proximity, rather than at random in the ocean. Autocorrelation occurs at scales ranging from the length of the organism to thousands of kilometres. Autocorrelation results from a wide variety of mechanisms, many of which act at characteristic scales. Consequently, some insight into causal mechanisms can be obtained from exploratory analysis of the scale and intensity of autocorrelation of abundance or behaviour, and the scale and intensity (coherence) of cross-correlation with environmental variables such as water temperature or prey abundance. This paper uses seabird counts along extended transects to illustrate standard measures of autocorrelation and cross-correlation. A brief discussion of exploratory and confirmatory analysis of autocorrelated data on marine birds follows.


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How to Cite
Schneider, D. C. (1990). Spatial autocorrelation in marine birds. Polar Research, 8(1), 89-97.