Highland Statistics Ltd.

Newburgh, United Kingdom

Highland Statistics Ltd.

Newburgh, United Kingdom
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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.


Mayor D.J.,University of Aberdeen | Thornton B.,James Hutton Institute | Hay S.,Marine Scotland - Marine Laboratory | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd. | And 3 more authors.
ISME Journal | Year: 2012

Deep-sea sediments cover 70% of Earth's surface and represent the largest interface between the biological and geological cycles of carbon. Diatoms and zooplankton faecal pellets naturally transport organic material from the upper ocean down to the deep seabed, but how these qualitatively different substrates affect the fate of carbon in this permanently cold environment remains unknown. We added equal quantities of 13 C-labelled diatoms and faecal pellets to a cold water (0.7) sediment community retrieved from 1080 m in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, Northeast Atlantic, and quantified carbon mineralization and uptake by the resident bacteria and macrofauna over a 6-day period. High-quality, diatom-derived carbon was mineralized 300% faster than that from low-quality faecal pellets, demonstrating that qualitative differences in organic matter drive major changes in the residence time of carbon at the deep seabed. Benthic bacteria dominated biological carbon processing in our experiments, yet showed no evidence of resource quality-limited growth; they displayed lower growth efficiencies when respiring diatoms. These effects were consistent in contrasting months. We contend that respiration and growth in the resident sediment microbial communities were substrate and temperature limited, respectively. Our study has important implications for how future changes in the biochemical makeup of exported organic matter will affect the balance between mineralization and sequestration of organic carbon in the largest ecosystem on Earth. © 2012 International Society for Microbial Ecology All rights reserved.


Wright B.R.,University of Queensland | Zuur A.F.,University of Aberdeen | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd.
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2014

Members of the arid Australian mulga (Acacia aneura) complex are fire-sensitive shrubs that produce mast seed crops after exceptionally high rainfall years. Such years also drive widespread wildfires in inland Australia, as high rainfall causes grassy fuels to accumulate, thereby enabling fuel contiguity to occur. Despite seedling regeneration playing an important role in mulga post-fire recovery, a dearth of information exists on the dynamics of its seedbanks. Here we examine the temporal and spatial dynamics of mulga seedbanks after a region-wide masting event at Laycock's Sandplain, central Australia. Masting had a profound effect on seedbanks, producing massive but short-lived pulses of seed in upper soil layers. After seed fall, seedbanks declined rapidly, and within 18 months had been reduced by predator depredations to low pre-mast levels. Our results suggest that mulga masting should enhance resilience to burning by providing transient seed pulses during periods of high flammability (i.e. after heavy rainfalls). The results also suggest that burn intensity will influence post-fire regeneration, by interacting with seed germination biology and post-mast seedbank dynamics. In our discussion, we examine possible evolutionary drivers behind mulga seeding periodicity, and hypothesize that rain-driven masting in mulga is a fire-related form of environmentally predictive masting. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Mayor D.J.,University of Aberdeen | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd. | Solan M.,University of Aberdeen | Paton G.I.,University of Aberdeen | Killham K.E.N.,University of Aberdeen
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2010

The factors affecting patterns of benthic [seabed] biology and chemistry around 50 Scottish fish farms were investigated using linear mixed-effects models that account for inherent correlations between observations from the same farm. The abundance of benthic macrofauna and sediment concentrations of organic carbon were both influenced by a significant, albeit weak, interaction between farm size, defined as the maximum weight of fish permitted on site at any one time, and current speed. Above a farm size threshold of between 800 and 10001, the magnitude of effects at farms located in areas of elevated current speeds were greater than at equivalent farms located in more quiescentwaters. Sediment concentrations of total organic matter were influenced by an interaction between distance and depth, indicating that wind-driven resuspension events may help reduce the accumulation of organic waste at farms located in shallow waters. The analyses presented here demonstrate that the production and subsequent fate of organic waste at fish farms is more complex than is often assumed; in isolation, current speed, water depth, and farm size are not necessarily good predictors of benthic impact. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


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.


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).


Mayor D.J.,University of Aberdeen | Cook K.,Marine Scotland - Marine Laboratory | Thornton B.,Macaulay Institute | Walsham P.,Marine Scotland - Marine Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Functional Ecology | Year: 2011

Marine copepods of the genus Calanus can reproduce prior to the spring bloom in the absence of sufficient food. Their starvation physiology, and hence the factors limiting their pre-bloom population growth (egg production), remain poorly understood. Stoichiometric theory can provide insights into the factors controlling an organism's growth and the fate of elements in an ecosystem. It is underpinned by substrate utilization efficiencies that relate to key physiological processes such as absorption efficiencies (AEs) and biomass turnover. These parameters are seldom investigated, particularly in the case of essential 'micronutrients' such as the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Calanus spp. were fed briefly and subsequently starved for 5days to determine basal turnover rates of biomass carbon, nitrogen and essential PUFAs. The effect of short-term fasting on nitrogen isotope signatures was also examined. The elemental, fatty acid and isotopic composition of their faecal pellets were compared to that of their food, providing insights into AEs and digestive isotopic discrimination. Gut AEs typically followed the sequence: PUFA>nitrogen>carbon, although low AE for DHA was a notable exception. Starvation-induced losses of carbon, nitrogen, EPA and DHA demonstrate that homeostatic organisms must ingest all of these substrates in substantial quantity to achieve positive net growth. Egested material was significantly depleted in 13C and 15N relative to the ingested food. We attribute this to isotopic discrimination at the macromolecular level, indicating that food quality contributes to the isotopic signature of a consumer organism. Values of δ15N in the copepods' tissues did not increase during starvation, despite significant losses of bulk nitrogen. This supports the suggestion that dissimilatory protein pathways in marine crustaceans are non-discriminating. The significant basal turnover rates and variable AEs for essential PUFAs and nitrogen presented herein demonstrate that organisms cannot be assumed to utilize all nutritious substrates with the same, high efficiency, even when scarce in the diet. Our data highlight the need for a more detailed understanding of organismal physiology before isotopic and stoichiometric models can be meaningfully constructed and parameterized. © 2010 The Authors. Functional Ecology © 2010 British Ecological Society.


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.


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


Shadish W.R.,University of California at Merced | Zuur A.F.,Highland Statistics Ltd. | Sullivan K.J.,University of California at Merced
Journal of School Psychology | Year: 2014

This article shows how to apply generalized additive models and generalized additive mixed models to single-case design data. These models excel at detecting the functional form between two variables (often called trend), that is, whether trend exists, and if it does, what its shape is (e.g., linear and nonlinear). In many respects, however, these models are also an ideal vehicle for analyzing single-case designs because they can consider level, trend, variability, overlap, immediacy of effect, and phase consistency that single-case design researchers examine when interpreting a functional relation. We show how these models can be implemented in a wide variety of ways to test whether treatment is effective, whether cases differ from each other, whether treatment effects vary over cases, and whether trend varies over cases. We illustrate diagnostic statistics and graphs, and we discuss overdispersion of data in detail, with examples of quasibinomial models for overdispersed data, including how to compute dispersion and quasi-AIC fit indices in generalized additive models. We show how generalized additive mixed models can be used to estimate autoregressive models and random effects and discuss the limitations of the mixed models compared to generalized additive models. We provide extensive annotated syntax for doing all these analyses in the free computer program R. © 2013 Society for the Study of School Psychology.

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