Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Patrick C. Tobin
    Date: 2004
    Source: Ecography. 27: 767-775.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (535.84 KB)


    The estimation of spatial autocorrelation in spatially- and temporally-referenced data is fundamental to understanding an organism's population biology. I used four sets of census field data, and developed an idealized space-time dynamic system, to study the behavior of spatial autocorrelation estimates when a practical method of sampling is employed. Estimates were made using both a classical geostatistical approach and a recently developed non-parametric approach. In field data, the estimate of the local spatial autocorrelation (i.e. autocorrelation as the distance between pairs of sampling points approaches 0), was greatly affected by sample size, while the range of spatial dependence (i.e. the distance at which the autocorrelation becomes negligible) was fairly stable. Similar patterns were seen in the theoretical system, as well as greater variability in local spatial autocorrelation during the invasion stage of colonization. When sampling for the purposes of quantifying spatial patterns, improved estimates of spatial autocorrelation may be obtained by increasing the number of pairs of points that are close in space at the expense of attempting to cover the entire region of interest with equidistant sampling points. Also, results from the theoretical space-time system suggested that greater resolution in sampling may be required in newly establishing populations relative to those already established.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Tobin, Patrick C. 2004. Estimation of the spatial autocorrelation function: consequences of sampling dynamic populations in space and time. Ecography. 27: 767-775.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page