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Do small samples underestimate mean abundance? It depends on what type of bias we consider.

Authors
  • Reiczigel, Jeno1
  • Rozsa, Lajos2, 3
  • 1 Department of Biomathematics and Informatics, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary. , (Hungary)
  • 2 Hungarian Academy of Sciences, MTA-ELTE-MTM Ecology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary. , (Hungary)
  • 3 Hungarian Academy of Sciences, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Evolutionary Systems Research Group, Tihany, Hungary. , (Hungary)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Folia parasitologica
Publication Date
Jul 26, 2017
Volume
64
Identifiers
DOI: 10.14411/fp.2017.025
PMID: 28783034
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Former authors claimed that, due to parasites' aggregated distribution, small samples underestimate the true population mean abundance. Here we show that this claim is false or true, depending on what is meant by 'underestimate' or, mathematically speaking, how we define 'bias'. The 'how often' and 'on average' views lead to different conclusions because sample mean abundance itself exhibits an aggregated distribution: most often it falls slightly below the true population mean, while sometimes greatly exceeds it. Since the several small negative deviations are compensated by a few greater positive ones, the average of sample means approximates the true population mean.

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