SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract Comparing a new set of samples to what may be considered a reference set is a common problem in ecology. The investigator may be interested in the degree of correspondence or any anomalies. For example, does a set of existing reserves adequately cover the range of communities sampled in a region? A technique for such comparisons is proposed. Being dependent solely on estimates of ecological resemblance, it is simple, efficient and robust. Significant difference is defined by means of a resemblance coefficient. A threshold value denoting significant difference can be defined either by species overlap or other attributes of the data. For presence/absence data the Czekanowski coefficient provides a suitable measure of ecological resemblance. Traditional discriminant analysis does not provide a viable alternative due to its limitations in accommodating ecological data.