This accessible and timely book provides a comprehensive overview of how to measure biodiversity. The book highlights new developments, including innovative approaches to measuring taxonomic distinctness and estimating species richness, and evaluates these alongside traditional methods such as species abundance distributions, and diversity and evenness statistics. Helps the reader quantify and interpret patterns of ecological diversity, focusing on the measurement and estimation of species richness and abundance. Explores the concept of ecological diversity, bringing new perspectives to a field beset by contradictory views and advice. Discussion spans issues such as the meaning of community in the context of ecological diversity, scales of diversity and distribution of diversity among taxa Highlights advances in measurement paying particular attention to new techniques such as species richness estimation, application of measures of diversity to conservation and environmental management and addressing sampling issues Includes worked examples of key methods in helping people to understand the techniques and use available computer packages more effectively
Although diversity is one of the central themes of ecology there is considerable disagreement ab out how it should be measured. I first encountered this problem 10 ycars ago whcn I started my research career and spent a long time pouring ovcr the literature in order to find the most useful techniques. The intervening decade has seen a further increasc in the number ofpapers devoted to the topic of ecological diversity but has led to no consensus on how it should be measured. My aim in writing this book is therefore to provide a practical guide to ecological diversity and its measurement. In a quantitative subject such as the measurement of diversity it is inevitable that some mathematics are involved, but at all times these are kept as simple as possible, and the emphasis is constantly on ecological reality and practical application. I hope that others ente ring thc fascinating ficld of ecological diversity will find it hclpful. This book grew out of my work in The School of Biological and Environmental Studies at the New University ofUlster, Coleraine, Northern Ircland. I am indebted to all the ecologists there for pro vi ding a stimulating atmosphere. Foremost among these were Amyan Macfadyen and Palmer Newbould. A number of the figures and tables in the book are based on data collected in Northern Irish woodlands.