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Ecological diversity : measuring the unmeasurable

Aisling Daly (UGent) , Jan Baetens (UGent) and Bernard De Baets (UGent)
(2018) MATHEMATICS. 6(7).
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Abstract
Diversity is a concept central to ecology, and its measurement is essential for any study of ecosystem health. But summarizing this complex and multidimensional concept in a single measure is problematic. Dozens of mathematical indices have been proposed for this purpose, but these can provide contradictory results leading to misleading or incorrect conclusions about a community's diversity. In this review, we summarize the key conceptual issues underlying the measurement of ecological diversity, survey the indices most commonly used in ecology, and discuss their relative suitability. We advocate for indices that: (i) satisfy key mathematical axioms; (ii) can be expressed as so-called effective numbers; (iii) can be extended to account for disparity between types; (iv) can be parameterized to obtain diversity profiles; and (v) for which an estimator (preferably unbiased) can be found so that the index is useful for practical applications.
Keywords
diversity, richness, evenness, effective numbers, estimators, mathematical ecology, RAOS QUADRATIC ENTROPY, SPECIES-DIVERSITY, PHYLOGENETIC DIVERSITY, FUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY, NONPARAMETRIC-ESTIMATION, CONSISTENT TERMINOLOGY, GENETIC DIVERSITY, EVENNESS MEASURES, POPULATION-SIZE, CONSUMERS GUIDE

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Daly, Aisling, Jan Baetens, and Bernard De Baets. 2018. “Ecological Diversity : Measuring the Unmeasurable.” Mathematics 6 (7).
APA
Daly, Aisling, Baetens, J., & De Baets, B. (2018). Ecological diversity : measuring the unmeasurable. MATHEMATICS, 6(7).
Vancouver
1.
Daly A, Baetens J, De Baets B. Ecological diversity : measuring the unmeasurable. MATHEMATICS. 2018;6(7).
MLA
Daly, Aisling, Jan Baetens, and Bernard De Baets. “Ecological Diversity : Measuring the Unmeasurable.” MATHEMATICS 6.7 (2018): n. pag. Print.
@article{8579002,
  abstract     = {Diversity is a concept central to ecology, and its measurement is essential for any study of ecosystem health. But summarizing this complex and multidimensional concept in a single measure is problematic. Dozens of mathematical indices have been proposed for this purpose, but these can provide contradictory results leading to misleading or incorrect conclusions about a community's diversity. In this review, we summarize the key conceptual issues underlying the measurement of ecological diversity, survey the indices most commonly used in ecology, and discuss their relative suitability. We advocate for indices that: (i) satisfy key mathematical axioms; (ii) can be expressed as so-called effective numbers; (iii) can be extended to account for disparity between types; (iv) can be parameterized to obtain diversity profiles; and (v) for which an estimator (preferably unbiased) can be found so that the index is useful for practical applications.},
  articleno    = {119},
  author       = {Daly, Aisling and Baetens, Jan and De Baets, Bernard},
  issn         = {2227-7390},
  journal      = {MATHEMATICS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {28},
  title        = {Ecological diversity : measuring the unmeasurable},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/math6070119},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2018},
}

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