Technical Comments

Response to Comment by Bunge et al. on "Computational Improvements Reveal Great Bacterial Diversity and High Metal Toxicity in Soil"

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Science  18 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5789, pp. 918
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126853

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Bunge et al. claim that we underestimated the error in our analysis of bacterial diversity in noncontaminated soil. However, they used an unsatisfactory model that exhibited pathological behavior and consequently led to an exceptionally high calculated error. In contrast, the zipf distribution yielded an error estimate only 0.7 times the estimate of the total number of species (S), and it is more biologically relevant.

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