Growing concern about biodiversity loss underscores the need to quantify and understand temporal change. Here, we review the opportunities presented by biodiversity time series, and address three related issues: (i) recognizing the characteristics of temporal data; (ii) selecting appropriate statistical procedures for analysing temporal data; and (iii) inferring and forecasting biodiversity change. With regard to the first issue, we draw attention to defining characteristics of biodiversity time series-lack of physical boundaries, unidimensionality, autocorrelation and directionality-that inform the choice of analytic methods. Second, we explore methods of quantifying change in biodiversity at different timescales, noting that autocorrelation can be viewed as a feature that sheds light on the underlying structure of temporal change. Finally, we address the transition from inferring to forecasting biodiversity change, highlighting potential pitfalls associated with phase-shifts and novel conditions. © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
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© 2012 The Authors.
Dornelas M, Magurran AE, Buckland ST, Chao A, Chazdon RL, Colwell RK, Curtis T, Gaston KJ, Gotelli NJ, Kosnik MA, McGill B. Quantifying temporal change in biodiversity: challenges and opportunities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2013 Jan 7;280(1750):20121931.