Within outlying mean indexes: refining the OMI analysis for the realized niche decomposition

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Authors Stéphane Karasiewicz, Sylvain Dolédec, Sébastien Lefebvre
Journal/Conference Name PeerJ
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The ecological niche concept has regained interest under environmental change (e.g., climate change, eutrophication, and habitat destruction), especially to study the impacts on niche shift and conservatism. Here, we propose the within outlying mean indexes (WitOMI), which refine the outlying mean index (OMI) analysis by using its properties in combination with the K-select analysis species marginality decomposition. The purpose is to decompose the ecological niche into subniches associated with the experimental design, i.e., taking into account temporal and/or spatial subsets. WitOMI emphasize the habitat conditions that contribute (1) to the definition of species' niches using all available conditions and, at the same time, (2) to the delineation of species' subniches according to given subsets of dates or sites. The latter aspect allows addressing niche dynamics by highlighting the influence of atypical habitat conditions on species at a given time and/or space. Then, (3) the biological constraint exerted on the species subniche becomes observable within Euclidean space as the difference between the existing fundamental subniche and the realized subniche. We illustrate the decomposition of published OMI analyses, using spatial and temporal examples. The species assemblage's subniches are comparable to the same environmental gradient, producing a more accurate and precise description of the assemblage niche distribution under environmental change. The WitOMI calculations are available in the open-access R package "subniche."
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R

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