Articles | Volume 15, issue 1
Review article
19 Jun 2015
Review article |  | 19 Jun 2015

Defining heterogeneity as a second level of variation

B. B. Hanberry

Abstract. The term heterogeneity has been defined in various ways so that the meaning of heterogeneity has become ambiguous. However, heterogeneity can be defined carefully as a distinct response to multiple single types of underlying variation, that is, a secondary level of variation (or "metavariation"). Identification of heterogeneity is affected by multiple factors, including researcher decisions, and ecosystems at a specified scale can contain both heterogeneous and homogenous variables. A formalized definition may also reduce the suggestion that heterogeneity is more beneficial than homogeneity.