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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


PEREYRA, LAURA C  and  MORENO, CLAUDIA E. Divide and conquer: a review of methods to partition the regional species diversity into its alpha and beta components. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2013, vol.86, n.3, pp.231-240. ISSN 0716-078X.

More than half a century ago Whittaker proposed that the regional diversity (γ) could be divided into two components: α and β. Over the years two basic ways to relate these three compontens of species diversity emerged: an additive and a multiplicative method. Both methods of diversity partitioning differ in their properties, expressions and interpretations, and have been increasingly used to analyze patterns of α and β diversity across multiple scales. Recently, important contributions have been generated on the properties, uses and limitations of these methods. The purpose of this paper is to review the evolution of the concepts of partitioning gamma diversity components, through additive and multiplicative forms, making a synthesis of the conceptual and methodological framework of both approaches. As a conclusion, if the aim of the study is to measure the true diversity, we should use the multiplicative diversity partitioning method. Diversity partitioning methods are an important part of the study of diversity in heterogeneous landscapes, and its results can be used for decision making in conservation biology.

Keywords : Gamma diversity; hierarchical design; species richness; species turnover; true diversity.

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