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Journal Articles Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution Year : 2021

Clustering species with residual covariance matrix in Joint Species Distribution models

Abstract

Modelling species distributions over space and time is one of the major research topics in both ecology and conservation biology. Joint Species Distribution models (JSDMs) have recently been introduced as a tool to better model community data, by inferring a residual covariance matrix between species, after accounting for species' response to the environment. However, these models are computationally demanding, even when latent factors, a common tool for dimension reduction, are used. To address this issue, Taylor-Rodriguez et al. (2017) proposed to use a Dirichlet process, a Bayesian nonparametric prior, to further reduce model dimension by clustering species in the residual covariance matrix. Here, we built on this approach to include a prior knowledge on the potential number of clusters, and instead used a Pitman-Yor process to address some critical limitations of the Dirichlet process. We therefore propose a framework that includes prior knowledge in the residual covariance matrix, providing a tool to analyze clusters of species that share the same residual associations with respect to other species. We applied our methodology to a case study of plant communities in a protected area of the French Alps (the Bauges Regional Park), and demonstrated that our extensions improve dimension reduction and reveal additional information from the residual covariance matrix, notably showing how the estimated clusters are compatible with plant traits, endorsing their importance in shaping communities.
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Dates and versions

hal-03151472 , version 1 (24-02-2021)

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Daria Bystrova, Giovanni Poggiato, Billur Bektaş, Julyan Arbel, James S Clark, et al.. Clustering species with residual covariance matrix in Joint Species Distribution models. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2021, 9, pp.601384:1-11. ⟨10.3389/fevo.2021.601384⟩. ⟨hal-03151472⟩
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