Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences

S. Azaele, R. Muneepeerakul, A. Rinaldo, I. Rodriguez-Iturbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we present an approach capable of extracting insights on ecosystem organization from merely occurrence (presence/absence) data. We extrapolate to the collective behavior by encapsulating some simplifying assumptions within a given set of constraints, and then examine their ecological implications. We show that by using the mean occurrence and co-occurrence of species as constraints, one is able to capture detailed statistics of a plant community distributed across a vast semiarid area of the United States. The approach allows us to quantify the species' effective couplings: Their frequencies exhibit a peak at zero and the minimal pairwise model is able to capture about 80% of the ecosystem structure. Our analysis reveals a relatively stronger impact of the species network on uncommon species and underscores the importance of species pairs experiencing positive couplings. Additionally, we study the associations among species and, interestingly, find that the frequencies of groups of different species, which the approach is able to capture, exhibit a power-law-like distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume262
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Ecosystem
Ecosystems
group behavior
ecosystems
plant communities
statistics
Statistics
Extrapolate
Collective Behavior
Pairwise
Power Law
Quantify
Zero

Keywords

  • Ecological interactions
  • Ising model
  • Maximum entropy
  • Occurrence data
  • Power law
  • Species associations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this

Azaele, S., Muneepeerakul, R., Rinaldo, A., & Rodriguez-Iturbe, I. (2010). Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 262(2), 323-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.09.026

Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences. / Azaele, S.; Muneepeerakul, R.; Rinaldo, A.; Rodriguez-Iturbe, I.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 262, No. 2, 21.01.2010, p. 323-329.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Azaele, S, Muneepeerakul, R, Rinaldo, A & Rodriguez-Iturbe, I 2010, 'Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences', Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol. 262, no. 2, pp. 323-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.09.026
Azaele S, Muneepeerakul R, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I. Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 2010 Jan 21;262(2):323-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.09.026
Azaele, S. ; Muneepeerakul, R. ; Rinaldo, A. ; Rodriguez-Iturbe, I. / Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences. In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 2010 ; Vol. 262, No. 2. pp. 323-329.
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