CIE A Level Biology (9700) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

18.1.7 Simpson's Index

Simpson's Index

  • Once the abundance of different species in an area has been recorded the results can be used to calculate the species diversity or biodiversity for that area
  • Species diversity looks at the number of different species in an area but also the evenness of abundance across the different species
  • Simpson’s index of diversity (D) can be used to quantify the biodiversity of an area

Simpson’s index

  • The formula is:

Simpson's Index equation

  •  Where:
    • n = total no. of organisms for a single species
    • N = total no. of organisms for all species
  • To calculate Simpson’s Index:
    • Step 1: First step is to calculate n / N for each species
    • Step 2: Square each of these values
    • Step 3: Add them together and subtract the total from 1
  • The possible values of D are significant:
      • The value of D can fall between 0 and 1
      • Values near 1 indicate high levels of biodiversity
      • Values near 0 indicate low levels of biodiversity

Exam Tip

Remember, you will be provided with the formula for Simpson’s Index in the exam. You need to be able to carry out the calculation to test for correlation, as you could be asked to do this in the exam. This also means you should understand when it is appropriate to use the different statistical tests, and the conditions in which each is valid.

Author: Lára

Lára graduated from Oxford University in Biological Sciences and has now been a science tutor working in the UK for several years. Lára has a particular interest in the area of infectious disease and epidemiology, and enjoys creating original educational materials that develop confidence and facilitate learning.

Join Save My Exams

Download all our Revision Notes as PDFs

Try a Free Sample of our revision notes as a printable PDF.

Join Now
Go to Top