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Newburgh, United Kingdom

Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd. | Ieno E.N.,Highland Statistics Ltd.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2016

Scientific investigation is of value only insofar as relevant results are obtained and communicated, a task that requires organizing, evaluating, analysing and unambiguously communicating the significance of data. In this context, working with ecological data, reflecting the complexities and interactions of the natural world, can be a challenge. Recent innovations for statistical analysis of multifaceted interrelated data make obtaining more accurate and meaningful results possible, but key decisions of the analyses to use, and which components to present in a scientific paper or report, may be overwhelming. We offer a 10-step protocol to streamline analysis of data that will enhance understanding of the data, the statistical models and the results, and optimize communication with the reader with respect to both the procedure and the outcomes. The protocol takes the investigator from study design and organization of data (formulating relevant questions, visualizing data collection, data exploration, identifying dependency), through conducting analysis (presenting, fitting and validating the model) and presenting output (numerically and visually), to extending the model via simulation. Each step includes procedures to clarify aspects of the data that affect statistical analysis, as well as guidelines for written presentation. Steps are illustrated with examples using data from the literature. Following this protocol will reduce the organization, analysis and presentation of what may be an overwhelming information avalanche into sequential and, more to the point, manageable, steps. It provides guidelines for selecting optimal statistical tools to assess data relevance and significance, for choosing aspects of the analysis to include in a published report and for clearly communicating information. © 2016 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2016 British Ecological Society


Philippart C.J.M.,Netherlands Institute for Sea Research | van Iperen J.M.,Netherlands Institute for Sea Research | Cadee G.C.,Netherlands Institute for Sea Research | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd. | Zuur A.F.,University of Aberdeen
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2010

Analyses of long-term field observations (1974-2007) on chlorophyll-a concentrations in the western Wadden Sea showed no long-term trends in the timing of the wax and wane of phytoplankton spring blooms. There is weak evidence, however, that the height of the autumn bloom has decreased since the early 1990s. This fading of the autumn bloom may have had consequences for the carbon transfer to higher trophic levels, currently hampering primary consumer species that mostly rely on food supply during late summer. Current and other findings suggest a shortening of the growing season due to the fading of the autumn bloom in the Wadden Sea and a lengthening of the growing season due to an advancement of the spring bloom in the North Sea. These regionally different changes in seasonality may have contributed to the coinciding decrease in bivalve filtering capacity in the western Wadden Sea and the large-scale offshore shift of juvenile plaice from the Wadden Sea to the adjacent North Sea. © 2009 The Author(s).


Baylis A.M.M.,Falklands Conservation | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd. | Zuur A.F.,University of Aberdeen | Brickle P.,Falkland Islands Government | Pistorius P.A.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Ibis | Year: 2012

Detecting and predicting how populations respond to environmental variability are eminent challenges in conservation research and management. This is particularly true for wildlife populations at high latitudes, many of which demonstrate changes in population dynamics associated with global warming. The Falkland Islands (Southwest Atlantic) hold one of the largest Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua populations in the world, representing c. 34% of the global population. The numbers of breeding Gentoo Penguins at the Falkland Islands have shown a high degree of inter-annual variability since monitoring commenced in 1990. However, proximate causes of annual variability in breeding numbers have not been explored. Here we examine 21years of Gentoo Penguin breeding surveys from the Falkland Islands and assess whether inter-annual variability in the number of breeding pairs were correlated with proxies of environmental variability. There was a positive correlation between the number of breeding pairs and a broad-scale climatic variation index, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). In turn, the SOI was significantly correlated with spring sea surface temperature anomalies, indicating a more immediate atmospherically forced response to El Niño Southern Oscillation variability in the Southwest Atlantic than previously reported. However, we also describe a non-linear response to environmental variability that may highlight foraging plasticity and/or the complexity of regional ecosystem interactions that operate across a range of different scales. © 2011 The Authors. Ibis © 2011 British Ornithologists' Union.


Mayor D.J.,University of Aberdeen | Thornton B.,James Hutton Institute | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Estuaries cover <1% of marine habitats, but the carbon dioxide (CO2) effluxes from these net heterotrophic systems contribute significantly to the global carbon cycle. Anthropogenic eutrophication of estuarine waterways increases the supply of labile substrates to the underlying sediments. How such changes affect the form and functioning of the resident microbial communities remains unclear. We employed a carbon-13 pulse-chase experiment to investigate how a temperate estuarine benthic microbial community at 6.5°C responded to additions of marine diatom-derived organic carbon equivalent to 4.16, 41.60 and 416.00 mmol C m-2. The quantities of carbon mineralized and incorporated into bacterial biomass both increased significantly, albeit differentially, with resource supply. This resulted in bacterial growth efficiency increasing from 0.40±0.02 to 0.55±0.04 as substrates became more available. The proportions of diatom-derived carbon incorporated into individual microbial membrane fatty acids also varied with resource supply. Future increases in labile organic substrate supply have the potential to increase both the proportion of organic carbon being retained within the benthic compartment of estuaries and also the absolute quantity of CO2 outgassing from these environments. © 2012 Mayor et al.


Wright B.R.,University of New England of Australia | Wright B.R.,University of Queensland | Latz P.K.,The Northern Territory Herbarium | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd.
Plant Ecology | Year: 2016

Members of the widespread arid Australian mulga (Acacia aneura) complex are fire-sensitive shrubs or small trees that can resprout epicormically following low-severity burning, but are readily killed by high-severity fire. The seeds of many species of mulga are stimulated to germinate by heat during burning, although post-fire regeneration rates are unpredictable. Here, we investigated whether variability in post-fire mulga recruitment relates to the relationship between fire severity and soil heating during fire, which may kill, leave unaffected, or stimulate the germination of buried seeds. This hypothesis was examined in central Australia on slender mulga (A. aptaneura), by experimentally investigating (a) seedling recruitment rates under different fire severity classes, (b) the germination and lethal temperature thresholds of seeds, (c) soil temperatures during fires of different severity classes and (d) the emergence depths of seedlings beneath high- and low-severity burnt plants. We found that post-fire recruitment was significantly lower beneath low-severity burnt and unburnt plants than high-severity burnt plants. This result was explained by the finding that maximum germinability of mulga seeds occurs after heating to between 80 and 100 °C, and that these temperatures are not achieved in unburnt patches or low-severity burns at depths where the majority of the seed bank is known to occur. Despite the increased regeneration observed after high-severity fire, post-fire recruitment was highly variable between sites, independent of fire severity. This indicates that while heat-stimulated germination may confer on mulga a risk-spreading strategy to a range of fire severities, post-burn recruitment may not always offset high adult death rates following high-severity fire. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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