Skip to main content

A similarity measure sensitive to the contribution of rare species and its use in investigation of variation in marine benthic communities

Summary

We propose a new measure of similarity, the normalized expected species shared or NESS. The measure is based on the expected number of species shared between random samples of size, m, drawn from a population. The NESS measure is shown to be a generalization of Morisita's similarity and is demonstrated to be less biased than other commonly used measures. The contribution of dominant and rare species is explicit according to the sample size, m, chosen. For large m, NESS is sensitive to the less common species in the populations to be compared.

The NESS measure has been used to cluster a 2-year sequence of subtidal benthic samples taken after a severe disturbance. The NESS measure is responsive to the less common species so that both a temporal progression in community recovery and seasonal variation are revealed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Abramowitz, M., Stegun, I.A. (eds.): Handbook of mathematical functions, 1046 pp. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Printing Office 1964

    Google Scholar 

  • Fraser, D.A.S.: Statistics, an introduction, 398 pp. New York: Wiley 1958

    Google Scholar 

  • Grassle, J.F., Grassle, J.P.: Opportunistic life histories and genetic systems in marine benthic polychaetes. J. Mar. Res. 32, 253–284 (1974)

    Google Scholar 

  • Horn, H.: Measurement of overlap in comparative ecological studies. Amer. Naturalist 100, 419–424 (1966)

    Google Scholar 

  • Hurlbert S.H.: The nonconcept of species diversity: a critique and alternative parameters. Ecology 52, 577–586 (1971)

    Google Scholar 

  • Lance, G.N., Williams, W.T.: A general theory of classificatory sorting strategies. I. Hierarchical systems. Comput. J. 9, 373–380 (1967)

    Google Scholar 

  • Michael, A.D., Raalte, C.R. van, Brown, L.S.: Long-term effects of an oil spill at West Falmouth, Massachusetts. Proc. Conference on Prevention and Control of Oil Pollution, San Francisco, pp. 573–582. Washington, D.C.: American Petroleum Institute 1975

    Google Scholar 

  • Morisita, M.: Measuring of interspecific association and similarity between communities. Mem. Fac. Sci. Kyushu Univ. Ser. E (Biol.) 3, 65–80 (1959)

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanders, H.L., Grassle, J.F., Hampson, G.R.: The West Falmouth Oil Spill. I. Biology. WHOI 72-20, unpublished manuscript, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole (1972)

    Google Scholar 

  • Sepkoski, J.J.: Quantified coefficients of association and measurement of similarity. Math. Geol. 6, 135–152 (1974)

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, W., Grassle, J.F.: A diversity index and its sampling properties. In preparation

  • Whittaker, R.H.: A study of summer foliage insect communities in the Great Smokey Mountains. Ecol. Monogr. 22, 1–44 (1952)

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, W.T.: Principles of clustering. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 2, 303–326 (1971)

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, W.T., Lance, G.N., Webb, L.J., Tracey, J.G.: Studies in the numerical analysis of complex rain-forest communities. VI. Models for the classification of quantitative data. J. Ecol. 61 47–70 (1973)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

Contribution No. 3699 from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Grassle, J.F., Smith, W. A similarity measure sensitive to the contribution of rare species and its use in investigation of variation in marine benthic communities. Oecologia 25, 13–22 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00345030

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00345030

Keywords

  • Random Sample
  • Seasonal Variation
  • Similarity Measure
  • Common Species
  • Rare Species