Understanding the factors that influence microbes’ environmental distributions is important for determining drivers of microbial community composition. These include environmental variables like temperature and pH, and higher-dimensional variables like geographic distance and host species phylogeny. In microbial ecology, “specificity” is often described in the context of symbiotic or host parasitic interactions, but specificity can be more broadly used to describe the extent to which a species occupies a narrower range of an environmental variable than expected by chance. Using a standardization we describe here, Rao’s (Theor Popul Biol, 1982. https://doi.org/10.1016/0040-5809(82)90004-1, Sankhya A, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13171-010-0016-3 ) Quadratic Entropy can be conveniently applied to calculate specificity of a feature, such as a species, to many different environmental variables.
We present our R package