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Rarefaction Plots Paper

Words: 456, Paragraphs: 10, Pages: 2

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Medicine

The experiment shall create a comparison of the biodiversity of various land plots through the use of Rarefaction Curves derived from the samples. The curves shall be attained by sampling different plots (2, 4 and 9 m2) for plant and tree species along transects of the area dividing lines of the plots.

The curves shall then be analyzed through the use of Eco-Tool’s Richness Estimators v. 2.1. Results of the experiment do not tally with the initial assumption of the proportionality of the sample size to the biodiversity. The analysis of the Rarefaction Curves indicate some dispersion of the curves, which may reflect a need to refine data.


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Biodiversity plays a role in the maintenance and enhancement of an ecosystem. In a food web, it can be seen that the loss of an organism which plays the same role as another organism is not as significant as compared to the loss of an organism which plays a single role in the food web.

The changing physical environment, however, has thinned the biodiversity of ecosystem. Worm et. al. suggests that these changes have been more enigmatic for the oceans than for landscapes (2006). The loss of biodiversity in an ecosystem thus breaks the stability of a system and its subsequent recovery. Thus, there is a need to monitor biodiversity and specify the ecosystem’s characteristics along environmental gradients.

Sampling is based on the assumption that the more samples that is drawn from a location, the more species that the sampling will gather. Thus, the diversity of the gathered species will depend on the quantity of organisms sampled.

Complete census of the different environments, however, is not feasible. From time to time, new species are seen on environments that have been sampled for a long time (Rothamstead, 2010). The fact that complete census is not feasible is countered by the fact that as sampling increases in quantity, the new species discovered from the sampling gradually becomes asymptotic. Thus, the number of unique species that can be gathered in a place approaches a set value.

Asymptotic species richness estimators, however, tend to overestimate species richness. The problems that the asymptotic estimators face are solved through the use of rarefaction curves. These curves simulate the concepts stated above since the curve rises quickly at first, where there is an abundance of unique discoveries of new species in the sample, until it reaches an asymptotic value. Rarefaction also simulates real-time situation through random re-sampling.

This experiment aims to prove the assumptions of discoveries approaching an asymptotic value as the sample size increases and that the larger the sample size, the more diverse the sample shall be. The experiment also aims to develop rarefaction curves of the gathered plot samples.

About the author

This paper is written by Sebastian He is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; his major is Business. All the content of this paper is his perspective on Rarefaction Plots and should be used only as a possible source of ideas.

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