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Dendrograms and measuring functional diversity


Petchey, Owen L; Gaston, Kevin J (2007). Dendrograms and measuring functional diversity. Oikos, 116(8):1422-1426.

Abstract

Patterns and changes in functional diversity can inform about spatial and temporal variation in trait diversity, about the processes that drive assembly, and whether assemblages are likely to contain redundant species. We recently provided a new measure (termed FD) and detailed its advantages over previous ones. Since then an increasing amount of research effort has been directed towards both developing appropriate measures of functional diversity and critiquing previous ones, including FD. Podani and Schmera (2006) attempt to do both, though here we argue that they accomplish neither. First, they suggest that a particular distance measure and clustering method are appropriate. We suggest that this is not the case, and show that they may have little effect on quantitative patterns in FD. Second, they suggest that values of functional diversity must be insensitive to the number of functional traits used. We do not agree because we can envisage no relevant ecological question. Third, they observe that we originally defined an FD of zero for an empty assemblage, whereas it is more appropriate for single species assemblages to have FD of zero. We agree. Their solution, however, is to create a measure of functional diversity which violates set monotonicity. Our solution is a revised version of FD for which single species assemblages have FD =0, and which does not violate set monotonicity. In conclusion, we are confident that FD behaves appropriately and note that it remains the measure of functional diversity with greatest power to explain variation in ecosystem functioning.

Abstract

Patterns and changes in functional diversity can inform about spatial and temporal variation in trait diversity, about the processes that drive assembly, and whether assemblages are likely to contain redundant species. We recently provided a new measure (termed FD) and detailed its advantages over previous ones. Since then an increasing amount of research effort has been directed towards both developing appropriate measures of functional diversity and critiquing previous ones, including FD. Podani and Schmera (2006) attempt to do both, though here we argue that they accomplish neither. First, they suggest that a particular distance measure and clustering method are appropriate. We suggest that this is not the case, and show that they may have little effect on quantitative patterns in FD. Second, they suggest that values of functional diversity must be insensitive to the number of functional traits used. We do not agree because we can envisage no relevant ecological question. Third, they observe that we originally defined an FD of zero for an empty assemblage, whereas it is more appropriate for single species assemblages to have FD of zero. We agree. Their solution, however, is to create a measure of functional diversity which violates set monotonicity. Our solution is a revised version of FD for which single species assemblages have FD =0, and which does not violate set monotonicity. In conclusion, we are confident that FD behaves appropriately and note that it remains the measure of functional diversity with greatest power to explain variation in ecosystem functioning.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:10 Jul 2012 16:12
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:46
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0030-1299
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0030-1299.2007.15894.x
Other Identification Number:Accession Number: WOS:000248681100017

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