Concept

Gamma diversity

Summary
In ecology, gamma diversity (γ-diversity) is the total species diversity in a landscape. The term was introduced by R. H. Whittaker together with the terms alpha diversity (α-diversity) and beta diversity (β-diversity). Whittaker's idea was that the total species diversity in a landscape (γ) is determined by two different things, the mean species diversity in sites at a more local scale (α) and the differentiation among those sites (β). According to this reasoning, alpha diversity and beta diversity constitute independent components of gamma diversity: :\gamma = \alpha +\beta Scale considerations The area or landscape of interest may be of very different sizes in different situations, and no consensus has been reached on what spatial scales are appropriate to quantify gamma diversity. It has therefore been proposed that the definition of gamma diversity does not need to be tied to a specific spatial scale, but gamma diversity can be measured for an existing da
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