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A Lower Bounded Estimator of Species Richness
Under Sampling Without Replacement
Chih-Wei Lin
Department of Leisure Services Management, Chaoyang University of Technology
“How many species are there on Earth? One of 125 big questions that face scientific
inquiry over the next quarter-century” (science, 2005). Species richness is a classical and
widely used index to characterize biodiversity in a community. Its estimation has become
a popular issue in biological and ecological science. Since the pioneering work by Fisher
et al. (1943), there have been various approaches to estimate species richness under
sampling with replacement. For example, the Chao1 estimator (Chao, 1984, 1989), based
on singletons and doubletons, provides a simple and useful lower bound. However, in
many practical biological sampling processes, the data are collected without replacement.
The estimator of species richness when individuals are sampled without replacement is a
big challenge. If sampling is done without replacement, the traditional estimators for
sampling with replacement tend to overestimate for relatively high sampling fractions
(ratio of sample size to the number of total individuals in the community) and do not
approach the true species richness when the sampling fraction approaches one. Here we
propose a lower bounded estimator of species richness under sampling without
replacement. The basic idea is based on a Cauchy-Schwarz inequality. The sampling
fraction plays an important role in our proposed estimators. When sampling fraction
approaches one, our bounds correctly converge to the true parameters. When the sampling
fraction approaches zero, our bounds also correctly tend to those bounds under sampling
with replacement. Simulation results are reported to evaluate the performance of the
proposed lower bound and to compare it with that of other estimators. Real examples are
presented for illustration.
Keywords: sampling with replacement; abundance data; Cauchy-Schwarz inequality;
diversity; replicated incidence data.