A method for under-sampled ecological network data analysis: plant-pollination as case study

Authors

  • Peter B. Sorensen Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Christian F. Damgaard Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Beate Strandberg Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Yoko L Dupont Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Marianne B Pedersen Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Luisa G. Carvalheiro NCB-Naturalis
  • Jacobus C. Biesmeijer NCB-Naturalis
  • Jens Mogens Olsen Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Melanie Hagen Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University
  • Simon G Potts University of Reading School of Agriculture

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.26786/1920-7603(2011)18

Abstract

In this paper, we develop a method, termed the Interaction Distribution (ID) method, for analysis of quantitative ecological network data. In many cases, quantitative network data sets are under-sampled, i.e. many interactions are poorly sampled or remain unobserved. Hence, the output of statistical analyses may fail to differentiate between patterns that are statistical artefacts and those which are real characteristics of ecological networks. The ID method can support assessment and inference of under-sampled ecological network data. In the current paper, we illustrate and discuss the ID method based on the properties of plant-animal pollination data sets of flower visitation frequencies. However, the ID method may be applied to other types of ecological networks. The method can supplement existing network analyses based on two definitions of the underlying probabilities for each combination of pollinator and plant species: (1), pi,j: the probability for a visit made by the i’th pollinator species to take place on the j’th plant species; (2), qi,j: the probability for a visit received by the j’th plant species to be made by the i’th pollinator. The method applies the Dirichlet distribution to estimate these two probabilities, based on a given empirical data set. The estimated mean values for pi,j and qi,j reflect the relative differences between recorded numbers of visits for different pollinator and plant species, and the estimated uncertainty of pi,j and qi,j decreases with higher numbers of recorded visits.

 

Author Biographies

Peter B. Sorensen, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Christian F. Damgaard, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Beate Strandberg, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Yoko L Dupont, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Marianne B Pedersen, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Luisa G. Carvalheiro, NCB-Naturalis

 

Jacobus C. Biesmeijer, NCB-Naturalis

 

Jens Mogens Olsen, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Melanie Hagen, Institute of Bioscience Faculty of Science and Technology Aarhus University

 

Simon G Potts, University of Reading School of Agriculture

 

Published

2012-01-24

How to Cite

Sorensen, P. B., Damgaard, C. F., Strandberg, B., Dupont, Y. L., Pedersen, M. B., Carvalheiro, L. G., Biesmeijer, J. C., Olsen, J. M., Hagen, M., & Potts, S. G. (2012). A method for under-sampled ecological network data analysis: plant-pollination as case study. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 6. https://doi.org/10.26786/1920-7603(2011)18

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