Estimating species interactions in a complex world
How much information is needed to infer whether an interaction exists between two species? Increasingly, species interactions are inferred from species associations, using patterns in statistical co-occurrence. However, in a first test, we found that there is no relationship between interactions estimated experimentally and interactions inferred from co-occurrence data, calling into question the widespread use of these methods.
Ongoing work includes a synthesis of co-occurrence theory and statistical methods, and an exploration of universal rules in patterns of statistical "associations".
Barner et al. 2018. Fundamental contradictions among observational and experimental estimates of non-trophic interactions. Ecology.
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