CIE Spotlight: Using aggregation functions to model human judgements of species diversity

Dale N.

Dale N.

TitleUsing aggregation functions to model human judgements of species diversity.

Authors: Gleb Beliakov, Simon James, Dale G. Nimmo

Source: Information Sciences (Available online 13 February 2015).

Brief summary of the paper: In environmental ecology, diversity indices attempt to capture both the number of species in a community and the relative abundance of each.

Many indices have been proposed for quantifying diversity, often based on calculations of dominance, equity and entropy from other research fields.

Here we use linear fitting techniques to investigate the use of aggregation functions, both for evaluating the relative biodiversity of different ecological communities, and for understanding human tendencies when making intuitive diversity comparisons.

The dataset we use was obtained from an online exercise where individuals were asked to compare hypothetical communities in terms of diversity and importance for conservation.