alexa The consequences of spatial structure for the design and analysis of ecological field surveys
Geology & Earth Science

Geology & Earth Science

Journal of Oceanography and Marine Research

Author(s): Pierre Legendre, Mark R T Dale, MarieJose Fortin, Jessica Gurevitch, Michael Hohn

Abstract Share this page

In ecological field surveys, observations are gathered at different spatial locations. The purpose may be to relate biological response variables (e.g., species abundances) to explanatory environmental variables (e.g., soil characteristics). In the absence of prior knowledge, ecologists have been taught to rely on systematic or random sampling designs. If there is prior knowledge about the spatial patterning of the explanatory variables, obtained from either previous surveys or a pilot study, can we use this information to optimize the sampling design in order to maximize our ability to detect the relationships between the response and explanatory variables? The specific questions addressed in this paper are: a) What is the effect (type I error) of spatial autocorrelation on the statistical tests commonly used by ecologists to analyse field survey data? b) Can we eliminate, or at least minimize, the effect of spatial autocorrelation by the design of the survey? Are there designs that provide greater power for surveys, at least under certain circumstances? c) Can we eliminate or control for the effect of spatial autocorrelation during the analysis? To answer the last question, we compared regular regression analysis to a modified t-test developed by Dutilleul for correlation coefficients in the presence of spatial autocorrelation. Replicated surfaces (typically, 1000 of them) were simulated using different spatial parameters, and these surfaces were subjected to different sampling designs and methods of statistical analysis. The simulated surfaces may represent, for example, vegetation response to underlying environmental variation. This allowed us 1) to measure the frequency of type I error (the failure to reject the null hypothesis when in fact there is no effect of the environment on the response variable) and 2) to estimate the power of the different combinations of sampling designs and methods of statistical analysis (power is measured by the rate of rejection of the null hypothesis when an effect of the environment on the response variable has been created). Our results indicate that: 1) Spatial autocorrelation in both the response and environmental variables affects the classical tests of significance of correlation or regression coefficients. Spatial autocorrelation in only one of the two variables does not affect the test of significance. 2) A broad-scale spatial structure present in data has the same effect on the tests as spatial autocorrelation. When such a structure is present in one of the variables and autocorrelation is found in the other, or in both, the tests of significance have inflated rates of type I error. 3) Dutilleul's modified t-test for the correlation coefficient, corrected for spatial autocorrelation, effectively corrects for spatial autocorrelation in the data. It also effectively corrects for the presence of deterministic structures, with or without spatial autocorrelation. The presence of a broad-scale deterministic structure may, in some cases, reduce the power of the modified t-test.

This article was published in Ecography and referenced in Journal of Oceanography and Marine Research

Relevant Expert PPTs

Relevant Speaker PPTs

Relevant Topics

Peer Reviewed Journals
 
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals
International Conferences 2017-18
 
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Annual Meetings

Contact Us

Agri, Food, Aqua and Veterinary Science Journals

Dr. Krish

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Clinical and Biochemistry Journals

Datta A

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Business & Management Journals

Ronald

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Journals

Gabriel Shaw

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Katie Wilson

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Engineering Journals

James Franklin

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

General Science and Health care Journals

Andrea Jason

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9043

Genetics and Molecular Biology Journals

Anna Melissa

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9006

Immunology & Microbiology Journals

David Gorantl

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9014

Informatics Journals

Stephanie Skinner

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Material Sciences Journals

Rachle Green

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Mathematics and Physics Journals

Jim Willison

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

Medical Journals

Nimmi Anna

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9038

Neuroscience & Psychology Journals

Nathan T

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9041

Pharmaceutical Sciences Journals

John Behannon

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9007

Social & Political Science Journals

Steve Harry

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

 
© 2008-2017 OMICS International - Open Access Publisher. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version
adwords