There are many examples in the literature of a positive correlation between the distribution of a species and its local abundance, i.e., widely occurring species tend to be more abundant locally when they do occur. Such relations have been documented over a wide range of taxa and spatial scales. There are five major hypotheses seeking to explain the relation: Random placement, Sampling error, Niche width, Demography, and Metapopulation dynamics. However, there is little evidence to distinguish between them, especially for plants.
The endangered grand skink (Oligosoma grande) is a New Zealand endemic lizard that persists as metapopulations occupying rock patches within matrices of mixed native vegetation and modified agricultural pasture. Parameterisation of metapopulation models applied in conservation biology assumes complete detectability of target species. Incomplete detectability may result in underestimates of occupancy and biased estimates of extinction and colonisation rates.