chapter  8
12 Pages

The Meta-Study

A Review

The empirical foundation for adopting the J distribution as a universal descriptor of abundances in natural communities rests on the meta-study introduced in Chapter 1 and explained more fully in this chapter. The study used 125 randomly selected biosurveys (or field surveys) as random samples of their respective communities (as defined by their respective authors). Each sample histogram was fitted to a J distribution having the same mean abundance and initial bar height as the sample. The resulting 125 chi-square scores were then compiled into a new histogram that portrayed the collective shape of the scores. If that histogram of scores was a relatively close match to the chi-square distribution itself and (more importantly) if the mean chi-square score matched the score expected under the null hypothesis, it would not only imply the presence of the J distribution in the data collectively but also exclude from that role any proposal that scored significantly higher.