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Using information criteria to select the correct variance–covariance structure for longitudinal data in ecology

Barnett, Adrian G., Koper, Nicola, Dobson, Annette J., Schmiegelow, Fiona, & Manseau, Micheline (2010) Using information criteria to select the correct variance–covariance structure for longitudinal data in ecology. Methods in Ecology & Evolution.

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Abstract

  1. Ecological data sets often use clustered measurements or use repeated sampling in a longitudinal design. Choosing the correct covariance structure is an important step in the analysis of such data, as the covariance describes the degree of similarity among the repeated observations.
  2. Three methods for choosing the covariance are: the Akaike information criterion (AIC), the quasi-information criterion (QIC), and the deviance information criterion (DIC). We compared the methods using a simulation study and using a data set that explored effects of forest fragmentation on avian species richness over 15 years.
  3. The overall success was 80.6% for the AIC, 29.4% for the QIC and 81.6% for the DIC. For the forest fragmentation study the AIC and DIC selected the unstructured covariance, whereas the QIC selected the simpler autoregressive covariance. Graphical diagnostics suggested that the unstructured covariance was probably correct.
  4. We recommend using DIC for selecting the correct covariance structure.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 29532
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: deviance information criteria, information criteria, quasi information criteria, longitudinal data, variance-covariance
DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2009.00009.x
ISSN: 2041-210X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400) > Applied Statistics (010401)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation Copyright 2010 British Ecological Society
Deposited On: 20 Jan 2010 13:29
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:24

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