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Journal Articles Interface Year : 2014

Wavelet analysis in ecology and epidemiology: impact of statistical tests.


Wavelet analysis is now frequently used to extract information from ecological and epidemiological time series. Statistical hypothesis tests are conducted on associated wavelet quantities to assess the likelihood that they are due to a random process. Such random processes represent null models and are generally based on synthetic data that share some statistical characteristics with the original time series. This allows the comparison of null statistics with those obtained from original time series. When creating synthetic datasets, different techniques of resampling result in different characteristics shared by the synthetic time series. Therefore, it becomes crucial to consider the impact of the resampling method on the results. We have addressed this point by comparing seven different statistical testing methods applied with different real and simulated data. Our results show that statistical assessment of periodic patterns is strongly affected by the choice of the resampling method, so two different resampling techniques could lead to two different conclusions about the same time series. Moreover, our results clearly show the inadequacy of resampling series generated by white noise and red noise that are nevertheless the methods currently used in the wide majority of wavelets applications. Our results highlight that the characteristics of a time series, namely its Fourier spectrum and autocorrelation, are important to consider when choosing the resampling technique. Results suggest that data-driven resampling methods should be used such as the hidden Markov model algorithm and the 'beta-surrogate' method.

Dates and versions

hal-00938690 , version 1 (29-01-2014)



Bernard Cazelles, Kévin Cazelles, Mario Chavez. Wavelet analysis in ecology and epidemiology: impact of statistical tests.. Interface, 2014, 11 (91), pp.20130585. ⟨10.1098/rsif.2013.0585⟩. ⟨hal-00938690⟩
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