Two statistical modelling techniques, generalized additive models (GAM) and multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS), were used to analyse relationships between the distributions of 15 freshwater fish species and their environment. GAM and MARS models were fitted individually for each species, and a MARS multiresponse model was fitted in which the distributions of all species were analysed simultaneously. Model performance was evaluated using changes in deviance in the fitted models and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC), calculated using a bootstrap assessment procedure that simulates predictive performance for independent data. Results indicate little difference between the performance of GAM and MARS models, even when MARS models included interaction terms between predictor variables. Results from MARS models are much more easily incorporated into other analyses than those from GAM models. The strong performance of a MARS multiresponse model, particularly for species of low prevalence, suggests that it may have distinct advantages for the analysis of large datasets. Its identification of a parsimonious set of environmental correlates of community composition, coupled with its ability to robustly model species distributions in relation to those variables, can be seen as converging strongly with the purposes of traditional ordination techniques.
Ecological Modelling – Elsevier
Published: Nov 16, 2006
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