Curvilinear plots or distributional representations extract information on patterns of relative species abundances in an assemblage without reducing that information to a single summary statistic, such as a diversity index (see Margalefs Index, Shannon-Wiener Index, and Simpson Index). In fact, such plots provide the raw material that is extracted by the full range of possible measures that combine richness and evenness components of diversity. Unlike multivariate methods, these distributions extract universal features of community structure which are not a function of the specific taxa present, and which may be related to levels of biological stress. ¿-Dominance curves belong to this class of techniques, and have been quite widely used in the context of environmental assessment.

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