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Keywords:

  • Bayesian statistics;
  • biodiversity;
  • idiosyncratic theory;
  • invariant groups;
  • macroecology;
  • maximum entropy;
  • noninformative prior distribution;
  • scale invariance;
  • species abundance distribution

Abstract

An increasing number of authors agree in that the maximum entropy principle (MaxEnt) is essential for the understanding of macroecological patterns. However, there are subtle but crucial differences among the approaches by several of these authors. This poses a major obstacle for anyone interested in applying the methodology of MaxEnt in this context. In a recent publication, Frank (2011) gives some arguments why his own approach would represent an improvement as compared to the earlier paper by Pueyo et al. (2007) and also to the views by Edwin T. Jaynes, who first formulated MaxEnt in the context of statistical physics. Here I show that his criticisms are flawed and that there are fundamental reasons to prefer the original approach.