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Taxonomic Diversity Estimation Using Rarefaction
David M. Raup
Vol. 1, No. 4 (Autumn, 1975), pp. 333-342
Published by: Paleontological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2400135
Page Count: 10
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Benthic ecologists have successfully applied rarefaction techniques to the problem of compensating for the effect of sample size on apparent species diversity (= species richness). The same method can be used in studies of diversity at higher taxonomic levels (families and orders) in the fossil record where samples represent world-wide distributions of species or genera over long periods of geologic time. Application of rarefaction to several large samples of post-Paleozoic echinoids (totaling 7.911 species) confirms the utility of the method. Rarefaction shows that the observed increase in the number of echinoid families since the Paleozoic is real in the sense that it cannot be explained solely by the increase in numbers of preserved species. There has been no statistically significant increase in the number of families since mid-Cretaceous, however. At the order level, echinoid diversity may have been nearly constant since late Triassic or early Jurassic.
Paleobiology © 1975 Paleontological Society