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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Nov 27;365(1558):3599-609. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0272.

Phylogenetic diversity measures based on Hill numbers.

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Institute of Statistics, National Tsing Hua University, Hsin-Chu, Taiwan.


We propose a parametric class of phylogenetic diversity (PD) measures that are sensitive to both species abundance and species taxonomic or phylogenetic distances. This work extends the conventional parametric species-neutral approach (based on 'effective number of species' or Hill numbers) to take into account species relatedness, and also generalizes the traditional phylogenetic approach (based on 'total phylogenetic length') to incorporate species abundances. The proposed measure quantifies 'the mean effective number of species' over any time interval of interest, or the 'effective number of maximally distinct lineages' over that time interval. The product of the measure and the interval length quantifies the 'branch diversity' of the phylogenetic tree during that interval. The new measures generalize and unify many existing measures and lead to a natural definition of taxonomic diversity as a special case. The replication principle (or doubling property), an important requirement for species-neutral diversity, is generalized to PD. The widely used Rao's quadratic entropy and the phylogenetic entropy do not satisfy this essential property, but a simple transformation converts each to our measures, which do satisfy the property. The proposed approach is applied to forest data for interpreting the effects of thinning.

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