# Can I compare Shannon-Wiener diversity indices between plots of different sizes (area)?

Can I compare the Shannon-Wiener (a.k.a. Shannon-Weaver) Index of diversity ($H'$) of plots (communities) with varying sizes (areas)?

If not, what steps do I need to take and/or which tests should I use to compare the diversity of different-sized plots?

I also wonder if this is possible for Simpson's Index of diversity?

Shannon-Wiener Index:

$$H' = -\sum \limits_{i=1}^S p_i \ln p_i$$

Simpson Index:

$$D = 1 -\sum \limits_{i=1}^S {p_i}^2$$

Where $p_i$ is the proportion of species $i$, and $S$ is the number of species.

• Welcome to Biology.SE. I am not an ecologist and I don't know the Shannon-Wiener index (and don't remember by heart the definition of the Simpson's index). However, if you were to include the definitions of those indices, I (and others) might be able to answer without having to search the literature for those definitions. When you say different-sized plot, do you mean different total number of individuals (total abundance) per plot? Aug 6, 2015 at 17:33
• Different sized plots strictly in terms of each plot having inconsistent physical AREA. For example, 1 plot might be 500m2, while another might be 1100m2. Aug 6, 2015 at 17:49
• Oh Shannon-wiener index is just what I would call the Shannon Index. This is why I did not recognize it at first place. Thanks for the edit +1 Aug 6, 2015 at 17:51
• No problem. I think the science community needs to make up their minds about what to call it ha! Aug 6, 2015 at 17:58