Contrasting Diversity Values: Statistical Inferences Based on Overlapping Confidence Intervals

MacGregor-Fors, Ian; Payton, Mark E.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Ecologists often contrast diversity (species richness and abundances) using tests for comparing means or indices. However, many popular software applications do not support performing standard inferential statistics for estimates of species richness and/or density. In this study we simulated the behavior of asymmetric log-normal confidence intervals and determined an interval level that mimics statistical tests with P(α) = 0.05 when confidence intervals from two distributions do not overlap. Our results show that 84% confidence intervals robustly mimic 0.05 statistical tests for asymmetric confidence intervals, as has been demonstrated for symmetric ones in the past. Finally, we provide detailed user-guides for calculating 84% confidence intervals in two of the most robust and highly-used freeware related to diversity measurements for wildlife (i.e., EstimateS, Distance).


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