Oecologia

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 334–336 | Cite as

The meaning and measurement of size hierarchies in plant populations

  • Jacob Weiner
  • Otto T. Solbrig
Original Papers

Summary

The term “size hierarchy” has been used frequently by plant population biologists but it has not been defined. Positive skewness of the size distribution, which has been used to evaluate size hierarchies, is inappropriate. We suggest that size hierarchy is equivalent to size inequality. Methods developed by economists to evaluate inequalities in wealth and income, the Lorenz curve and Gini Coefficient, provide a useful quantification of inequality and allow us to compare populations. A measure of inequality such as the Gini Coefficient will usually be more appropriate than a measure of skewness for addressing questions concerning plant population structure.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Atkinson AB (1970) On the measurement of inequality. J Econ Theory 2:244–263Google Scholar
  2. Bowman MJ (1946) Readings in the Theory of Income Distributions. Blackston, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  3. Diaconis P, Efron B (1983) Computer intensive methods in statistics. Sci Am 248(5):116–130Google Scholar
  4. Efron B (1982) The jackknife, the bootstrap and other resampling plants. SIAM Monograph No. 38Google Scholar
  5. Ford ED (1975) Competition and stand structure in some evenaged plant monocultures. J Ecol 63:311–333Google Scholar
  6. Gini C (1912) Variabilita e mutabilita. BolognaGoogle Scholar
  7. Koyama H, Kira T (1956) Intraspecific competition among higher plants. VIII. Frequency distribution of individual plant weight as affected by the interaction between plants. J Inst Polytech Osaka Cy University 7:73–94Google Scholar
  8. Leverich WJ, Levin DA (1979) Age-specific survivorship and reproduction in Phlox drummondi. Am Nat 113:881–903Google Scholar
  9. Lorenz MO (1905) Methods for measuring the concentration of wealth. Am Stat Assoc 9:209–219Google Scholar
  10. Obeid M, Machin D, Harper JL (1967) Influence of density on plant to plant variation in fiber flax Linum usitatissumum L. Crop Sci 7:471–473Google Scholar
  11. Ogden J (1970) Plant population structure and productivity. Proc New Zeal Ecol Soc 17:1–9Google Scholar
  12. Ricci U (1916) L'indice di variabilita e la curve dei reddita. RomeGoogle Scholar
  13. Sen A (1973) On Economic Inequality. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Sohn JJ, Policansky D (1977) The costs of reproduction in the mayapple Podophyllum peltatum (Berberidaceae). Ecology 58:1366–1374Google Scholar
  15. Sokal RR, Rohlf JE (1981) Biometry. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  16. Solbrig OT (1981) Studies on the population biology of the genus Viola II. The effect of plant size on fitness in Viola sororia. Evolution 35:1080–1093Google Scholar
  17. Turner MD, Rabinowitz DR (1983) Factors affecting frequency distributions of plant mass: the absence of dominance and suppression in Festuca paradoxa. Ecology 64:469–475Google Scholar
  18. Weiner J (1984) Size hierarchies in experimental populations of annual plants. SubmittedGoogle Scholar
  19. Werner PA, Caswell H (1977) Population growth rates and age versus stage distribution models for teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris Huds.). Ecology 58:1103–1111Google Scholar
  20. White J, Harper JL (1970) Correlated changes in plant size and number in plant populations. J Ecol 58:467–485Google Scholar
  21. Yoda K, Kira T, Ogawa H, Hozumi KJ (1963) Self-thinning in overcrowded pure stands under cultivated and natural conditions. J Biol Osaka Cy Univ 14:107–129Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Weiner
    • 1
  • Otto T. Solbrig
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologySwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA
  2. 2.Gray HerbariumHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations