Feb 18, 2016

A Family of Interaction-Adjusted Indices of Community Similarity

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Thomas Sebastian Benedikt SchmidtChristian von Mering


Interactions between taxa are essential drivers of ecological community structure and dynamics, but they are not taken into account by traditional indices of diversity. In this study, we propose a novel family of indices that quantify community similarity in the context of taxa interaction networks. Using publicly available datasets, we assess the performance of two specific indices which are Taxa INteraction-Adjusted (TINA, based on taxa co-occurrence networks), and Phylogenetic INteraction-Adjusted (PINA, based on phylogenetic similarities). TINA and PINA outperformed traditional indices when partitioning human-associated microbial communities according to habitat, even for extremely downsampled datasets, and when organising ocean micro-eukaryotic plankton diversity according to geographical and physicochemical gradients. We argue that interaction-adjusted indices capture novel aspects of diversity outside the scope of traditional approaches, highlighting the biological significance of ecological association networks in the interpretation of community similarity.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Phylogenetic Analysis
Pineal night-specific ATPase
TaxA protein, E coli
Tina (plant)

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