I draw attention to the need for ecologists to take spatial structure into account more seriously in hypothesis testing. If spatial autocorrelation is ignored, as it usually is, then analyses of ecological patterns in terms of environmental factors can produce very misleading results. This is demonstrated using synthetic but realistic spatial patterns with known spatial properties which are subjected to classical correlation and multiple regression analyses. Correlation between an autocorrelated response variable and each of a set of explanatory variables is strongly biased in favour of those explanatory variables that are highly autocorrelated ‐ the expected magnitude of the correlation coefficient increases with autocorrelation even if the spatial patterns are completely independent. Similarly, multiple regression analysis finds highly autocorrelated explanatory variables “significant” much more frequently than it should. The chances of mistakenly identifying a “significant” slope across an autocorrelated pattern is very high if classical regression is used. Consequently, under these circumstances strongly autocorrelated environmental factors reported in the literature as associated with ecological patterns may not actually be significant. It is likely that these factors wrongly described as important constitute a red‐shifted subset of the set of potential explanations, and that more spatially discontinuous factors (those with bluer spectra) are actually relatively more important than their present status suggests. There is much that ecologists can do to improve on this situation. I discuss various approaches to the problem of spatial autocorrelation from the literature and present a randomisation test for the association of two spatial patterns which has advantages over currently available methods.
Ecography – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2000
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera