MEPS 368:309-310 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07728

AS I SEE IT
Misidentification of the Bray-Curtis similarity index

Paul M. Yoshioka*

Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, PO Box 9013, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00681, USA

ABSTRACT: The Bray-Curtis (BC) similarity index is misidentified in various software programs, and the index used by these programs is more appropriately credited to Czekanowski (Cz).  The BC and Cz indices differ because abundant species have the greatest impact on the Cz index, while all species (and samples) ‘count the same’ in the BC index, due to a double standardization of the dataset.  To illustrate the difference between these indices, I analyzed the example dataset in the PRIMER manual.  In one instance, similarity values differ by 40% (21 vs. 61%). These discrepancies must be considered in comparisons between analyses conducted with software programs that use the true BC index, and programs that use the Cz index but mislabel it as ‘BC’.


KEY WORDS: Bray-Curtis index · Czekanowski index · Similarity index · Percent similarity


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Cite this article as: Yoshioka PM (2008) Misidentification of the Bray-Curtis similarity index. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 368:309-310. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07728

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