This paper presents the R package BioFTF, which is a tool for statistical biodiversity assessment in the functional data analysis framework. Diversity is a key topic in many research fields; however, in the literature, it is demonstrated that the existing indices do not capture the different aspects of this concept. Thus, a main drawback is that different indicators may lead to different orderings among communities according to their biodiversity. A possible method to evaluate biodiversity consists in using diversity profiles that are curves depending on a specific parameter. In this setting, it is possible to adopt some functional instruments proposed in the literature, such as the first and second derivatives, the curvature, the radius of curvature and the arc length. Specifically, the derivatives and the curvature (or the radius of curvature) highlight any peculiar behaviour of the profiles, whereas the arc length helps in ranking curves, given the richness. Because these instruments do not solve the issue of ranking communities with different numbers of species, we propose an important methodological contribution that introduces the surface area. Indeed, this tools is a scalar measure that reflects the information provided by the biodiversity profile and allows for ordering communities with different richness. However, this approach requires mathematical skills that the average user may not have; thus, our idea is to provide a user-friendly tool for both non-statistician and statistician practitioners to measure biodiversity in a functional context.
Di Battista, T., Fortuna, F., Maturo, F. (2017). BioFTF: An R Package for Biodiversity Assessment with the Functional Data Analysis Approach. ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS, LXXIII, 726-732 [10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.10.032].