, Volume 268, Issue 1, pp 9-26

First online:

Multivariate analysis of benthic invertebrate communities: the implication of choosing particular data standardizations, measures of association, and ordination methods

  • Donald A. JacksonAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Toronto

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Benthic invertebrate data from thirty-nine lakes in south-central Ontario were analyzed to determine the effect of choosing particular data standardizations, resemblance measures, and ordination methods on the resultant multivariate summaries. Logarithmic-transformed, 0–1 scaled, and ranked data were used as standardized variables with resemblance measures of Bray-Curtis, Euclidean distance, cosine distance, correlation, covariance and chi-squared distance. Combinations of these measures and standardizations were used in principal components analysis, principal coordinates analysis, non-metric multidimensional scaling, correspondence analysis, and detrended correspondence analysis. Correspondence analysis and principal components analysis using a correlation coefficient provided the most consistent results irrespective of the choice in data standardization. Other approaches using detrended correspondence analysis, principal components analysis, principal coordinates analysis, and non-metric multidimensional scaling provided less consistent results. These latter three methods produced similar results when the abundance data were replaced with ranks or standardized to a 0–1 range. The log-transformed data produced the least consistent results, whereas ranked data were most consistent. Resemblance measures such as the Bray-Curtis and correlation coefficient provided more consistent solutions than measures such as Euclidean distance or the covariance matrix when different data standardizations were used. The cosine distance based on standardized data provided results comparable to the CA and DCA solutions. Overall, CA proved most robust as it demonstrated high consistency irrespective of the data standardizations. The strong influence of data standardization on the other ordination methods emphasizes the importance of this frequently neglected stage of data analysis.

Key words

community distance multivariate ordination procrustes standardization