A critical issue in model-based inference for studying trait-based community assembly and a solution

PeerJ
Cajo J F Ter BraakStéphane Dray

Abstract

Statistical testing of trait-environment association from data is a challenge as there is no common unit of observation: the trait is observed on species, the environment on sites and the mediating abundance on species-site combinations. A number of correlation-based methods, such as the community weighted trait means method (CWM), the fourth-corner correlation method and the multivariate method RLQ, have been proposed to estimate such trait-environment associations. In these methods, valid statistical testing proceeds by performing two separate resampling tests, one site-based and the other species-based and by assessing significance by the largest of the two p-values (the pmax test). Recently, regression-based methods using generalized linear models (GLM) have been proposed as a promising alternative with statistical inference via site-based resampling. We investigated the performance of this new approach along with approaches that mimicked the pmax test using GLM instead of fourth-corner. By simulation using models with additional random variation in the species response to the environment, the site-based resampling tests using GLM are shown to have severely inflated type I error, of up to 90%, when the nominal level is set ...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Environment
Laboratory Procedures
Regression Analysis
Site
Simulation
Cross Validation
Statistical Analysis
Molecular Assembly/Self Assembly
EAF2 protein, human
Species

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