Measuring temporal patterns in ecology: The case of mast seeding
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Ecol Evol. 2021 Mar 11;11(7):2990-2996. doi: 10.1002/ece3.7291. eCollection 2021 Apr.
Correctly assessing temporal patterns is a central difficulty in ecology with a purpose to perceive ecosystem processes and their mechanisms. Mast seeding has historically been described as a reproductive habits consisting of extremely variable and synchronized reproductive occasions. The commonest metric used to measure temporal variability and thus infer masting habits, the coefficient of variation (CV), nevertheless, has been repeatedly steered to improperly estimate temporal variability. Biases of CV estimates are particularly problematic for non-normally distributed knowledge and/or knowledge units with a excessive variety of zeros.Some current research have already adopted new metrics to measure temporal variability, however most proceed to make use of CV. This controversy has began a powerful debate about what metrics to make use of.We right here summarize the issues of CV when assessing temporal variability, notably throughout knowledge units containing a lot of zeros, and spotlight the advantages of utilizing different metrics of temporal variability, equivalent to proportional variability (PV) and consecutive disparity (D). We additionally counsel a brand new manner to have a look at reproductive habits, by separating temporal variability from frequency of copy, to permit higher comparability of knowledge units with completely different traits.We propose future research to correctly describe the temporal patterns in absolutely scientific and measurable phrases that don’t result in confusion, equivalent to variability and frequency of copy, utilizing strong and absolutely comparable metrics.