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Title: Catching ghosts with a coarse net: use and abuse of spatial sampling data in detecting synchronization.
Authors: Petrovskaya, Natalia
Petrovskii, Sergei
First Published: 15-Feb-2017
Publisher: The Royal Society
Citation: Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 2017, 14: 20160855
Abstract: 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.
DOI Link: 10.1098/rsif.2016.0855
ISSN: 1742-5689
eISSN: 1742-5662
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, The Royal Society. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: 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.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Mathematics

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