A comparison of two methods for generating artificial multi-assemblage ecological datasets

Hurst, Cameron P., Catterall, Carla P., & Chaseling, Janet (2008) A comparison of two methods for generating artificial multi-assemblage ecological datasets. Ecological Informatics, 3(4-5), pp. 286-294.

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Simulated ecological data sets have been widely used to assess the ability of ordination techniques to portray patterns in ecological assemblage data. Such data sets typically contain a single assemblage sampled over an environmental gradient or set of gradients. Little has been done on the generation of artificial data sets that contain a number of different species assemblages, to aid in the evaluation of multivariate techniques that test for differences between assemblages of species. This paper describes and compares two simulation methods that generate ecologically realistic artificial multi-assemblage data sets. Both methods provide multivariate data (e.g. species abundances) for replicate sites within discretely different assemblages. The first technique is a coenocline model based on species responses to variation modeled by a five-parameter β-function, where variation in species abundances both within and between assemblages is governed by differences in the positions of sites and assemblages along environmental gradients. The second technique, the resampling method, involves bootstrap resampling of real assemblage data sets, with the addition of selected types of controlled differences between assemblages. Here we use it to generate turnover in species composition. We calibrate both simulation methods based on a field assemblage of bird species. The two different simulation methods portray different levels and types of between-assemblage variation. The resampling method allows greater control over some aspects of assemblage difference (e.g. independently varying differences in species richness and compositional turnover) than the coenocline method. Both can generate usable replicated simulated data sets for assessing the ability of multivariate tests to detect ecological variation among assemblages.

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ID Code: 15752
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Coenocline, Ecological assemblage, Environmental gradient, Multivariate test for difference, Resampling, Simulation
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2008.07.003
ISSN: 1574-9541
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > APPLIED MATHEMATICS (010200) > Biological Mathematics (010202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:46

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