PiscesLogoSmallerStill  A guide to comparing and classifying communities

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Even a quite modest field survey can produce a bewildering amount of information on the presence and abundance of species, pottery or fossils, and it is frequently difficult to identify and summarise the main features and inter-relationships between communities. This section describes the different approaches and techniques you can use. The aim is to describe the ways in which your data can be presented and explored, and little attention is given to the theoretical background of the techniques.


Useful sources for information about the mathematical background to these techniques are Legendre & Legendre (1998) and Kent & Coker (1992).


Organising your data for analysis

Searching for similarity

Multivariate analysis

Cluster analysis


Principal Component Analysis (PCA)

Non-metric Multi-Dimensional Scaling (n-MDS)

Reciprocal averaging (RA & DECORANA)

Discriminant Analysis