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Tau as an index of similarity in community comparisons the opposite null orientations of contingency and correlation tests


Tau as an index of similarity in community comparisons the opposite null orientations of contingency and correlation tests



American Midland Naturalist 117(1): 221-222



ISSN/ISBN: 0003-0031

DOI: 10.2307/2425726

Recent discussions of the relative merits of .pi. and contingency table approaches to community comparisons have failed to make explicit that the null hypotheses of these tests have opposite orientations. The null hypothesis for a contingency test states that the differences between observed distributions are attributable to chance, while the null for a .pi. correlation test states that observed rank-order similarities are attributable to chance. A hypothetical community-comparison example is given in which both tests detect significant but opposite effects in the same data, so that a clear understanding of these opposite null orientations is essential if either test is to be used appropriately.

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