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Catching ghosts with a coarse net: use and abuse of spatial sampling data in detecting synchronization.

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-03-20, 14:47 authored by Natalia Petrovskaya, Sergei Petrovskii
Synchronization of population dynamics in different habitats is a frequently observed phenomenon. A common mathematical tool to reveal synchronization is the (cross)correlation coefficient between time courses of values of the population size of a given species where the population size is evaluated from spatial sampling data. The corresponding sampling net or grid is often coarse, i.e. it does not resolve all details of the spatial configuration, and the evaluation error-i.e. the difference between the true value of the population size and its estimated value-can be considerable. We show that this estimation error can make the value of the correlation coefficient very inaccurate or even irrelevant. We consider several population models to show that the value of the correlation coefficient calculated on a coarse sampling grid rarely exceeds 0.5, even if the true value is close to 1, so that the synchronization is effectively lost. We also observe 'ghost synchronization' when the correlation coefficient calculated on a coarse sampling grid is close to 1 but in reality the dynamics are not correlated. Finally, we suggest a simple test to check the sampling grid coarseness and hence to distinguish between the true and artifactual values of the correlation coefficient.

History

Citation

Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 2017, 14: 20160855

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Mathematics

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Journal of The Royal Society Interface

Publisher

The Royal Society

issn

1742-5689

eissn

1742-5662

Acceptance date

2017-01-18

Copyright date

2017

Available date

2018-02-15

Publisher version

http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/14/127/20160855

Notes

The file associated with this record is under embargo until 12 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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