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Simpson's Diversity Index is a measure of diversity. In ecology, it is often used to quantify the biodiversity of a habitat. It takes into account the number of species present, as well as the abundance of each species. Before looking at Simpson's Diversity Index in more detail, it is important to understand the basic concepts outlined below.

**Biological Diversity - the great variety of life
**

Biological diversity can be quantified in many different ways. The two main factors taken into account when measuring diversity are richness and evenness. 1. Richness Richness is a measure of the number of different kinds of organisms present in a particular area. For example, species richness is the total number of different species present in a community. Some communities may be simple enough to allow complete species counts to determine species richness. However, this is often impossible, especially when dealing with insects and other invertebrates, in which case some form of sampling has to be used to estimate species richness. 2. Evenness Evenness is a measure of the relative abundance of the different species making up the richness of

Numbers of individuals Sample 1 Sample 2 300 20 335 49 365 931 1000 1000 Flower Species Daisy Dandelion Buttercup Total A community dominated by one or two species is considered to be less diverse than one in which several different species have a similar abundance. Both samples have the same number of species (3) and the same total number of individuals (1000). D= (n / N)2 2. There are two versions of the formula for calculating D. In the second sample. Either is acceptable. However. The second version (2) is an adaptation of the formula to estimate a finite population. The sample from the first field consists of 300 daisies. so diversity increases. Strictly speaking. n = the total number of organisms of a particular species N = the total number of organisms of all species . we might have sampled two different fields for wildflowers. 335 dandelions and 365 buttercups. To give an example. As species richness and evenness increase. Simpson's Index (D) measures the probability that two individuals randomly selected from a sample will belong to the same species (or some category other than species). with only a few daisies and dandelions present. with a large sample there is practically no difference between these equations. the first formula (1) should only be used to estimate an infinite population. Simpson's Diversity Indices The term 'Simpson's Diversity Index' can actually refer to any one of 3 closely related indices. Sample 2 is therefore considered to be less diverse than sample 1. Simpson's Diversity Index is a measure of diversity which takes into account both richness and evenness.an area. This is because the total number of individuals in the sample is quite evenly distributed between the three species. most of the individuals are buttercups. 1. The sample from the second field comprises 20 daisies. the first sample has more evenness than the second. but be consistent. 49 dandelions and 931 buttercups (see the table below). However.

That is. Another way of overcoming the problem of the counter-intuitive nature of Simpson's Index is to take the reciprocal of the Index: Simpson's Reciprocal Index 1 / D The value of this index starts with 1 as the lowest possible figure. The number of plant species within each quadrat. might be tested by sampling random quadrats. provided they can be distinguished from each other. This is neither intuitive nor logical. so to get over this problem. The name 'Simpson's Diversity Index' is often very loosely applied and all three related indices described above (Simpson's Index. There is no necessity to be able to identify all the species. 0 represents infinite diversity and 1. the greater the diversity. the greater the sample diversity. the bigger the value of D. but now. As an example. In this case. sampling only one quadrat would not give you a reliable estimate of the diversity of the ground flora in the wood. then the maximum value is 5. This figure would represent a community containing only one species.D The value of this index also ranges between 0 and almost 1. It is therefore important to ascertain which index has actually been used in any comparative studies of diversity. To calculate Simpson's Index for a particular area. the greater the value. For example if there are five species in the sample. the diversity of the ground flora in a woodland. Several samples would have to be taken and the data . Of course. the lower the diversity. the index represents the probability that two individuals randomly selected from a sample will belong to different species. D is often subtracted from 1 to give: Simpson's Index of Diversity 1 . The number of individuals of each species present in the samples must be noted.The value of D ranges between 0 and 1 With this index. (This can be easier said than done! more here) For example. The maximum value is the number of species (or other category being used) in the sample. This makes more sense. let us work out the value of D for a single quadrat sample of ground vegetation in a woodland. depending on author. as well as the number of individuals of each species is noted. the area must first be sampled. The higher the value. no diversity. Simpson's Index of Diversity and Simpson's Reciprocal Index) have been quoted under this blanket term.

n(n-1) 2 56 0 0 6 . 64 Putting the figures into the formula for Simpson's Index D = 0. Species Woodrush Holly (seedlings) Bramble Yorkshire Fog Sedge Total (N) n(n-1) Number (n) 2 8 1 1 3 15 .pooled to give a better estimate of overall diversity.3 (Simpson's Index) Then: Simpson's Index of Diversity 1 .7 .D = 0.

3 These 3 different values all represent the same biodiversity. 654pp.K. (1969) An Introduction to Mathematical Ecology. R.Simpson's Reciprocal Index 1 / D = 3. Ecology 54: 427432 Krebs. biotic and similarity indices: a review with special relevance to aquatic ecosystems. 5:285-307 Pielou. Ecol. Water Research 18:653-694 . (1974) The measurement of species diversity. Syst. A value of Simpson's Index of 0. (1973) Diversity and evenness: a unifying notation and its consequences.7 for Simpson's Index of Diversity. E. It is therefore important to ascertain which index has actually been used in any comparative studies of diversity.G. is not the same as a value of 0. New York. M. Further Reading Hill. Harper and Row. Washington. New York. Peet. (1978) Ecological Methods. (1984) Diversity. Simpson. Annual Rev. E. H. C.7. (1989) Ecological Methodology. Publishers.R.C.J. Simpson's Index gives more weight to the more abundant species in a sample. Cambridge. University Printing House. Wiley.H. (1949) Measurement of diversity. Nature 163:688 Southwood.O. The addition of rare species to a sample causes only small changes in the value of D. 524pp.E. 286pp. T.

Count at least 30 cars in each lot.. while species evenness measures the relative abundance of the various species. For this activity use Simpson’s Index is of diversity. you can use Simpson’s Index of Diversity. Species richness refers to the number of different species present in an ecosystem. Calculate the Simpson Diversity Index for both the faculty lot and the student lot. The formula for Simpson’s Index is: Simpson’s Index of Diversity n = the total number of organisms of a particular species N = the total number of organisms of all species 1–D Simpson’s Reciprocal Index 1/D The value of D ranges between 0 and 1. . Before you do the survey: Predict which parking lot (faculty or student) you expect to be most diverse and explain why. with 0 being the most diverse and 1 the least diverse. Organize your team so that you collect your data as quickly as possible. In this activity we will use the Simpson Index to compare the species diversity (different makes of cars) of two ecosystems (parking lots). 1 – D. a mathematical formula that takes into account species richness and species evenness. Your Prediction_________________________________________________________ Procedure: 1. 2. but how can we measure the biodiversity of en ecosystem? One way is to use a biodiversity index. Since this is counterintuitive. or Simpson’s Reciprocal Index. Calculate the total number of different species for each parking lot. 1/D.Name_________________________________________ Period_____ Date_____________ Calculating Biodiversity The diversity of species present in an ecosystem can be used as one gauge of the health of an ecosystem. 3.

Determine the maximum and minimum values for the Simpson Diversity Index in the parking lot you surveyed. If you conducted this lab at a new car dealership. List the single most abundant species in each set of data. explain why your prediction was supported or not supported. 2. would the Diversity Index be high or low? 4. 5.Questions: 1. Why might this species be the most abundant? 3. predict whether the Simpson Diversity Index would be high or low. Based on your observations during the lab. and how it would compare to the school parking lots? . If you conducted this survey at a mall parking lot. Identify the parking lot that was the most diverse.

Data Table – Faculty Lot Species Number (n) n(n-1) TOTAL (N) .

Data Table – Faculty Lot Species Number (n) n(n-1) TOTAL (N) Data Table – Student Lot .

Species Number (n) n(n-1) TOTAL (N) Data Table – Student Lot .

Species Number (n) n(n-1) TOTAL (N) .

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