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Ecology. 2007 Oct;88(10):2427-39.

Partitioning diversity into independent alpha and beta components.

Author information

1
loujost@yahoo.com

Erratum in

  • Ecology. 2009 Dec;90(12):3593.

Abstract

Existing general definitions of beta diversity often produce a beta with a hidden dependence on alpha. Such a beta cannot be used to compare regions that differ in alpha diversity. To avoid misinterpretation, existing definitions of alpha and beta must be replaced by a definition that partitions diversity into independent alpha and beta components. Such a unique definition is derived here. When these new alpha and beta components are transformed into their numbers equivalents (effective numbers of elements), Whittaker's multiplicative law (alpha x beta = gamma) is necessarily true for all indices. The new beta gives the effective number of distinct communities. The most popular similarity and overlap measures of ecology (Jaccard, Sorensen, Horn, and Morisita-Horn indices) are monotonic transformations of the new beta diversity. Shannon measures follow deductively from this formalism and do not need to be borrowed from information theory; they are shown to be the only standard diversity measures which can be decomposed into meaningful independent alpha and beta components when community weights are unequal.

PMID:
18027744
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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