One of the standard parameters to assess the impact of transgenic plants on ecological communities is the evaluation or comparison of diversity. Diversity can be described using many indices, but their interpretation is not straightforward, and different indices have different strengths and weaknesses. However, there are modern biodiversity methods that describe diversity relations in more sophisticated ways. The intent of this paper is to introduce the application scalable diversity index families (Rényi-diversity) to biosafety studies. 【Method】The scalable one-parametric Rényi-diversity index family includes several well-known diversity indices as special cases, but provides a complex assessment of diversity relations between several assemblages. After the introduction of the equation, we demonstrate the suitability of this method by comparing the censused spider fauna on two cultivars of transgenic Bt-cotton fields and compared to non-transgenic cotton fields under conventional or integrated (IPM) management in Hebei Province, north central China. 【Result】The diversity relationships demonstrated all possible interaction types: an unequivocal ordering, as well as different potential relationships between two spider assemblages. Among the sample fields, the Rényi index profile showed that the spider diversity in the Chinese Zhongmian 30 transgenic Bt-cotton was unequivocally the highest. The other three assemblages could not be unequivocally ordered: considering the rare species, the most diverse was the Bt-cultivar Monsanto 33B, followed by the IPM and the conventional fields. When common species had more weight, the most diverse assemblage was the IPM field, followed by conventional and the Monsanto 33B Bt-cotton one. 【Conclusion and significance】The suggested new method can provide a synthetic, multi-faceted assessment of the assemblages, and this allows a contextdependent evaluation of the diversity effects of various management actions. This method overcomes the traditional shortcomings of singlenumber diversity indices, and while considers several of them, it binds them into a single, coherent conceptual framework.
Journal of Biosafety, 2013, Vol 22, Issue 1, p. 43-50