Effects of sample size (replicate number) on similarity measures in river benthic Aufwuchs community analysis

Yong Cao, W. Peter Williams, Anthony W. Bark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The effects of sample size (the number of replicates) on 11 similarity measures were investigated using a set of freshwater macroinvertebrate samples and a randomization procedure for resampling. Most of these indices were strongly affected by sample size. However, as sample size increased, species composition and relative abundance changed significantly and the real similarity between two replicate samples increased substantially. Responsiveness to sample size dictates the sensitivity of a similarity measure to community change. The relative independence of sample size of some similarity measures results from strongly overweighting abundant species. CY dissimilarity-similarity measure showed the highest sensitivity, followed by Canberra metric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes



  • aquatic
  • communities
  • ecology
  • macroinvertebrates
  • sample size
  • similarity indices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology

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