slideshow 3

Seminar mathematics in biology

Indices of beta-diversity in ecology

Arnošt Šizling


Tuesday, 21. March 2023 - 13:00 to 15:00
Beta-diversity is a widely defined term in ecology and it covers several phenomena that we can observe as we walk through the landscape and notice how species change around us. At the same time, there is a large group of scientists in ecology who determine which indices to use to measure beta-diversity. In the talk, I will introduce the concepts advocated by this group, including some mistakes, such as violating the requirement that a "good" index should be continuous, or that two different indices should not carry identical information. I will show that indices can be understood as linear equations and present an alternative approach based on simple algebra. Finally, I will demonstrate a method for detecting non-random historical changes in communities during the Holocene, based on this alternative approach.