Extending community trajectory analysis: New metrics and representation

Extending community trajectory analysis: New metrics and representation

Abstract

Ecological research focuses on the spatio-temporal patterns of ecosystems and communities. The recently pro- posed framework of Community Trajectory Analysis considers community dynamics as trajectories in a chosen space of community resemblance and utilizes geometrical properties of trajectories to compare and analyse temporal changes. Here, we extend the initial framework, which focused on consecutive trajectory segments, by considering additional metrics with respect to initial or baseline states. Addressing questions about community dynamics and more generally temporal and spatial ecological variability requires synthetic and efficient modes of representation. Hence, we propose a set of innovative maps, charts and trajectory roses to represent trajectory properties and complement the panel of traditional modes of representation used in community ecology. We use four case studies to highlight the complementarity and the ability of the new metrics and innovative figures to illustrate ecological trajectories and to facilitate their interpretation. Finally, we encourage ecologists skilled in multivariate analysis to integrate CTA into their toolbox in order to quantitatively evaluate spatio-temporal changes.

Publication
Ecological Modelling