Using the Gini coefficient with BIOLOG substrate utilisation data to provide an alternative quantitative measure for comparing bacterial soil communities

Harch, Bronwyn, Correll, Raymond L., Meech, Wendy, Kirkby, Clive A., & Pankhurst, Clive E. (1997) Using the Gini coefficient with BIOLOG substrate utilisation data to provide an alternative quantitative measure for comparing bacterial soil communities. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 30(1), pp. 91-101.

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A measure quantifying unequal use of carbon sources, the Gini coefficient (G), has been developed to allow comparisons of the observed functional diversity of bacterial soil communities. This approach was applied to the analysis of substrate utilisation data obtained from using BIOLOG microtiter plates in a study which compared decomposition processes in two contrasting plant substrates in two different soils. The relevance of applying the Gini coefficient as a measure of observed functional diversity, for soil bacterial communities is evaluated against the Shannon index (H) and average well colour development (AWCD), a measure of the total microbial activity. Correlation analysis and analysis of variance of the experimental data show that the Gini coefficient, the Shannon index and AWCD provided similar information when used in isolation. However, analyses based on the Gini coefficient and the Shannon index, when total activity on the microtiter plates was maintained constant (i.e. AWCD as a covariate), indicate that additional information about the distribution of carbon sources being utilised can be obtained. We demonstrate that the Lorenz curve and its measure of inequality, the Gini coefficient, provides not only comparable information to AWCD and the Shannon index but when used together with AWCD encompasses measures of total microbial activity and absorbance inequality across all the carbon sources. This information is especially relevant for comparing the observed functional diversity of soil microbial communities.

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ID Code: 72781
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Cited By (since 1996):67
Export Date: 26 May 2014
Source: Scopus
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Biodiversity, BIOLOG, Gini coefficient (G), Lorenz curve, Microbial communities, Shannon index (H), article, bacterial metabolism, carbon dioxide fixation, nonhuman, priority journal, soil microflora
DOI: 10.1016/S0167-7012(97)00048-1
ISSN: 0167-7012
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 12 Jun 2014 23:26
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 23:26

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