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Comprehensive evaluation of model uncertainty in qualitative network analyses


Melbourne-Thomas, J and Wotherspoon, SJ and Raymond, B and Constable, A, Comprehensive evaluation of model uncertainty in qualitative network analyses, Ecological Monographs, 82, (4) pp. 505-519. ISSN 0012-9615 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Ecological Society of America

DOI: doi:10.1890/12-0207.1


Qualitative network analyses provide a broad range of advantages for formulating ideas and testing understanding of ecosystem function, for exploring feedback dynamics, and for making qualitative predictions in cases where data are limited. They have been applied to a wide range of ecological questions, including exploration of the implications of uncertainty about fundamental system structure. However, we argue that questions regarding model uncertainty in qualitative network analyses have been under-explored, and that there is a need for a coherent framework for evaluating uncertainty. To address this issue, we have developed a Bayesian framework for interpreting uncertainty that can be applied when comparing and evaluating the characteristics and behavior of alternative model formulations. Specifically, we recognize that results from previously developed simulation approaches to qualitative modeling can be interpreted as marginal likelihoods that translate to Bayes factors for model comparison. We then test and extend our Bayesian interpretation of qualitative model results to address comparisons both between and within alternative models. With the use of examples, we demonstrate how our Bayesian framework for interpretation can improve the application of qualitative modeling for addressing uncertainty about the structure and function of ecological networks.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Bayes factor, Bayesian framework, network analysis, qualitative model, uncertainty
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
UTAS Author:Wotherspoon, SJ (Dr Simon Wotherspoon)
UTAS Author:Raymond, B (Dr Ben Raymond)
UTAS Author:Constable, A (Dr Andrew Constable)
ID Code:81491
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2012-12-11
Last Modified:2017-10-27

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