Supplementary Figures from Uncertainty quantification of the effects of biotic interactions on community dynamics from nonlinear time series data

2018-10-16T09:46:11Z (GMT) by Simone Cenci Serguei Saavedra
Biotic interactions are expected to play a major role in shaping the dynamics of ecological systems. Yet, quantifying the effects of biotic interactions has been challenging due to a lack of appropriate methods to extract accurate measurements of interaction parameters from experimental data. One of the main limitations of existing methods is that the parameters inferred from noisy, sparsely sampled, nonlinear data are seldom uniquely identifiable. That is, many different parameters can be compatible with the same dataset and can generalize to independent data equally well. Hence, it is difficult to justify conclusive assertions about the effect of biotic interactions without information about their associated uncertainty. Here, we develop an ensemble method based on model averaging to quantify the uncertainty associated with the effect of biotic interactions on community dynamics from non-equilibrium ecological time-series data. Our method is able to detect the most informative time intervals for each biotic interaction within a multivariate time series and can be easily adapted to different regression schemes. Overall, this novel approach can be used to associate a time-dependent uncertainty with the effect of biotic interactions. Moreover, because we quantify uncertainty with minimal assumptions about the data-generating process, our approach can be applied to any data for which interactions among variables strongly affect the overall dynamics of the system.