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J Exp Mar Bio Ecol. 2000 Jul 30;250(1-2):23-49.

The measurement of marine species diversity, with an application to the benthic fauna of the Norwegian continental shelf.

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Biologisk Institutt, Universitetet i Oslo, Pb 1064 Blindern, 0316, Oslo, Norway


Species diversity includes two aspects, the number of species (species richness) and the proportional abundances of the species (heterogeneity diversity). Species richness and heterogeneity diversity can be measured over different scales; a single point, samples, large scales, biogeographical provinces and in assemblages and habitats. In the literature, the terminology of these scales is confused. Here, scales are given a uniform notation. Scales of species richness and heterogeneity diversity are distinguished from turnover (beta) diversity, which is the degree of change in species composition along a gradient. Methods of measurement of the scales of species richness, heterogeneity diversity, turnover diversity and for estimating total species richness are reviewed. Two methods for measuring heterogeneity diversity are recommended Exp H' (where H' is the Shannon-Wiener index) and 1/Simpson's index, together with an equitability index J'. The reviewed methods are then applied to a data set from the Norwegian continental shelf to illustrate the advantages of the recommended methods. Finally, the application of the methods to assessment of effects of disturbance, to studies of gradients of species richness and to conservation issues are discussed.


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