School of Mathematics

Tom Leinster

Tom Leinster abstract

Tom Leinster, School of Maths, UoE

Measuring diversity: the importance of species similarity

In ecology, genetics, and several other disciplines, the need has arisen to have a numerical measure of diversity.  The trouble is that no one can agree on what the word "diversity" means.  I will present some joint work with Christina Cobbold, showing that many of the existing measures of diversity can be unified into a single, highly flexible and versatile, system of measures.  An important feature is that it allows inter-species similarity to be factored in (unlike the most popular measures in ecology, for instance, which implicitly assume that different species have nothing in common).

Assuming no background knowledge, I will explain this work, including both the mathematical aspects and its application to real populations.