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Combining the fourth-corner and the RLQ methods for assessing trait responses to environmental variation.

Abstract : Assessing trait responses to environmental gradients requires the simultaneous analysis of the information contained in three tables: L (species distribution across samples), R (environmental characteristics of samples), and Q (species traits). Among the available methods, the so-called fourth-corner and RLQ methods are two appealing alternatives that provide a direct way to test and estimate trait-environment relationships. Both methods are based on the analysis of the fourth-corner matrix, which crosses traits and environmental variables weighted by species abundances. However, they differ greatly in their outputs: RLQ is a multivariate technique that provides ordination scores to summarize the joint structure among the three tables, whereas the fourth-corner method mainly tests for individual trait- environment relationships (i.e., one trait and one environmental variable at a time). Here, we illustrate how the complementarity between these two methods can be exploited to promote new ecological knowledge and to improve the study of trait-environment relationships. After a short description of each method, we apply them to real ecological data to present their different outputs and provide hints about the gain resulting from their combined use.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/halsde-00942845
Contributor : Nathalie Lyvet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 3:43:00 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 23, 2021 - 4:18:02 PM

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Stéphane Dray, Philippe Choler, Sylvain Dolédec, Pedro R. Peres-Neto, Sandrine Pavoine, et al.. Combining the fourth-corner and the RLQ methods for assessing trait responses to environmental variation.. Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 2014, 95 (1), pp.14-21. ⟨10.1890/13-0196.1⟩. ⟨halsde-00942845⟩

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