TetraDENSITY database

TetraDENSITY is a database that includes georeferenced population density estimates of tetrapod species worldwide. It was meant to be a source for macroecological research and biodiversity conservation analyses, but also to be a reference database for population density estimates for field studies.

The database was originally described and presented in the publication:

Santini L., Isaac N.J.B., Ficetola G.F. 2018. TetraDENSITY: a database of population density estimates in terrestrial vertebrates. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27(7): 787-791

TetraDENSITY v.1.0 is available at


TetraDENSITY v.1.0 can also be downloaded and explored using the TetraDENSITY R package (Santini & Hoeks 2020). Click here for the vignette TetraDENSITY-package-tutorial.

When published, the database included >18,000 estimates for 2100 species from ~950 studies, and only focused on terrestrial species. Since then, the database kept growing integrating additional data and expanded to marine taxa, it now includes data for >3500 species, and >48,000 estimates from >2300 studies.

We are currently researching on these data and we plan to release an updated version of the dataset in the future. In the meanwhile, if you are interested in the data for a specific project, please get in contact.


Table TetraDENSITY

TemporalCoverage copy

Research papers that used the database:

Witting, L. (2023). On the natural selection of body mass allometries. Acta Oecologica, 118, 103889

Street, S. E., Gutiérrez, J. S., Allen, W. L., & Capellini, I. (2023). Human activities favour prolific life histories in both traded and introduced vertebrates. Nature Communications, 14(1), 262.

van Eeden, L. M., & Dickman, C. R. (2023). Estimating the number of wild animals affected by Australia’s 2019–20 wildfires. Australia’s Megafires: Biodiversity Impacts and Lessons from 2019-2020.

Santini L., Tobias J., Callaghan C., Gallego-Zamorano J., Benítez López A. 2023. Global patterns and predictors of avian population density. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/GEB.13688

Wolff N.H., Visconti P., Kujala H., Santini L. Hilbers J.P., Possingham H.P., Oakleaf J.R., Kennedy C.M., Kiesecker J., Fargione J., Game E.T. Prioritizing habitat protection to minimize global mammal extinctions. UNDER REVISION

Mason, A. R., Gathorne‐Hardy, A., White, C., Plancherel, Y., Woods, J., & Myers, R. J. (2022). Resource requirements for ecosystem conservation: A combined industrial and natural ecology approach to quantifying natural capital use in nature. Ecology and Evolution12(8), e9132.

Broekman M., Hilbers, J.P., Schipper A.M, Benítez-López A., Santini L., Huijbregts M.A.J. 2022. Time-lagged effects of habitat fragmentation on terrestrial mammals in Madagascar. Conservation Biology, doi: 10.1111/cobi.13942

Santini L., Benítez López A., Dormann C.F., Huijbregts M.A.J. 2022. Population density estimates for terrestrial mammals. Global Ecology & Biogeography, doi: 10.1111/geb.13476

Pie, M. R., Caron, F. S., & Divieso, R. 2021. The evolution of species abundances in terrestrial vertebrates. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research59(8), 2562-2570.

Wang, Y.X.G., Matson, K.D., Santini L., Visconti P., Hilbers J., Huijbregts M.A.J., Xu Y., Prins H.H.T., Dobson A., Allen T., Huang Z.Y.X., de Boer W.F. 2021. Mammal assemblage composition predicts global patterns in emerging infectious disease risk. Global Change Biology, 27(20): 4995-5007

Santini L., Isaac N. 2020. Rapid Anthropocene realignment of allometric scaling rules. Ecology Letters 24(7): 1318-1327

Gonzalez-Suarez M., Gonzalez-Voyer A., von Hardenberg A., Santini L. 2020. The role of brain size on population density in mammals. Journal of Animal Ecology 90(3): 653-661

Tucker M, Santini L., Carbone C., Mueller T. 2020. Mammal population densities at a global scale are higher in human-modified areas. Ecography, doi: 10.1111/ecog.05126

Skyes L., Santini L., Etard A., Newbold T. Different forms of rarity interact to determine species’ responses to land use. Conservation Biology doi: doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13419

Santini L., Butchart S.H.M., Rondinini C., Benítez-López A., Hilbers J.P., Schipper A., Cengic M., Tobias J.A., Huijbregts M.A.J. 2019. Applying habitat and population density models to land cover time series to inform IUCN Red List assessments. Conservation Biology 33(5): 1084–1093

Santini L., Pironon S., Maiorano L., Thuiller W. 2019. Addressing common pitfalls does not provide more support to geographical and ecological abundant-centre hypotheses. Ecography 42(4): 696-705

Santini L., Isaac N.J.B., Maiorano L., Ficetola G.F., Huijbregts M.A.J., Carbone C., Thuiller W. 2018. Global drivers of population abundance in terrestrial vertebrates. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27(8): 968-979

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