Analysis of relative abundances with zeros on environmental gradients: a multinomial regression model



Chong, Fiona and Spencer, M
(2018) Analysis of relative abundances with zeros on environmental gradients: a multinomial regression model. PeerJ.

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Abstract

Ecologists often analyze relative abundances, which are an example of compositional data. However, they have made surprisingly little use of recent advances in the field of compositional data analysis. Compositions form a vector space in which addition and scalar multiplication are replaced by operations known as perturbation and powering. This algebraic structure makes it easy to understand how relative abundances change along environmental gradients. We illustrate this with an analysis of changes in hard-substrate marine communities along a depth gradient. We fit a quadratic multivariate regression model with multinomial observations to point count data obtained from video transects. As well as being an appropriate observation model in this case, the multinomial deals with the problem of zeros, which often makes compositional data analysis difficult. We show how the algebra of compositions can be used to understand patterns in dissimilarity. We use the calculus of simplex-valued functions to estimate rates of change, and to summarize the structure of the community over a vertical slice. We discuss the benefits of the compositional approach in the interpretation and visualization of relative abundance data.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Compositional data analysis, Fouling communities, Environmental gradients, Linear algebra
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2018 06:15
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2021 16:10
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5643
Open Access URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5643
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3025697