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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 372:307-309 (2008)  -  DOI:

The Bray-Curtis similarity index remains misidentified: Reply to Somerfield (2008)

Paul M. Yoshioka*

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

ABSTRACT: Somerfield (2008, Mar Ecol Prog Ser 372:303–306) provides numerous reasons for refuting my contention that the Bray-Curtis (BC) similarity index is misidentified by some software programs. He argues that I confuse the pretreatment of data with the calculation of similarity, and ends with the assertion that software programs are not the problem. I argue that the pretreatment of data is ‘built into’ the BC index, and that software packages are a major source for propagation of the misidentified BC index. Much more importantly, I think that Somerfield’s arguments are peripheral to, and do not disprove, the key contention that the index in some software programs differs from the index described by Bray & Curtis (1957). Nevertheless, I agree with Somerfield’s sentiment that the term Bray-Curtis should be maintained in community ecology. With respect to indices of percentage similarities I think that Bray and Curtis deserve greater recognition for developing a double standardization procedure that assigns equal weights to species and samples.

KEY WORDS: Bray-Curtis · Percentage similarity · Double standardization · Software errors

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Cite this article as: Yoshioka PM (2008) The Bray-Curtis similarity index remains misidentified: Reply to Somerfield (2008). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 372:307-309.

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