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Introduction of relative abundance distribution (RAD) indices, estimated from the rank-frequency diagrams (RFD), to assess changes in community diversity
Quantifying a relative abundance distribution based on the sampling of a set of species is a widespread problem in ecology. A number of diversity indices have been proposed and used in numerous works in spite of a lack of statistical characteristics and tests of comparison. The relative abundance distribution can also be described using rank-frequency diagrams but fitting these diagrams to mathematical models such as the Zipf-Mandelbrot model remains problematic. Strong correlation between the Zipf-Mandelbrot model parameters prevent their estimation by optimization algorithm. In light of this, new indices of sampled communities are introduced here. These indices are two linear regression slopes estimated from rank-frequency diagrams. The numerous statistical studies that have been carried out on linear regression models are used to compare sampled communities. These new indices possess characteristic properties with an ecological meaning. Correlations between these indices, the Zipf-Mandelbrot model parameters and an evenness diversity index are examined. An ecological application is made using entomological data as an example. This example consists of a transect from the edge of a pond to a dry forest along which 60,000 insects were sampled from six different sampling stations. Using the new indices described here, station C, located at the edge of that area subject to influence from the pond, is differentiated from the other stations. This station would seem to present the
ISSN : 0167-6369 CODEN : EMASDH
Environmental monitoring and assessment A. 2000, vol. 63, n° 2, pp. 279-295 [bibl. : 2 p.1/4]
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