The Measurement of Niche Overlap and Some Relatives

  • Hurlbert S
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Abstract

Existing overlap indices are examined and are judged to be inadequate on the grounds (1) that they lack simple and appropriateb iological interpretationsa, nd (2) that they ignore possible variationa mong resource states in abundanceo r availability( ai). Two indices interpretablei n terms of encounters are proposed. Niche overlap (L) is measured as the degree to which frequency of interspecific encounter is higher or lower than it would be if each species utilized each resource state in proportiont o its abundance( ai). Directionalo verlap (ZXYi)s measured as the density of species Y encountered, on the average, by an individual of species X. When resource states are equal in size, L is equivalentt o Lloyd's 'interspeciesp atchiness,'a ndZ X(Yis) e quivalentt o his 'meanc rowdingo n species 1 by species 2.' Indices which in corporate variation in resource state abundance are also developed for mean crowding, patchiness and niche breadth

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Authors

  • Stuart H. Hurlbert

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