Fit predator-prey functional responses.

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Description

Fits predator-prey functional responses and returns data in a consistent, predictable way, exposing some useful methods.

Usage

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frair_fit(formula, data, response, start=list(), fixed=NULL)

Arguments

formula

A simple formula of the form y ~ x.

data

The dataframe containing x and y.

response

A string denoting the response to fit. See Details.

start

A named list. Starting values for optimised parameters.

fixed

A named list. Values that are not optimised.

Details

frair_fit is a utility function which helps users fit common non-linear predator-prey curves to integer data. It uses maximum likelihood estimation, via mle2 from the bbmle package.

The response requested must be known to FRAIR. To establish what is supported, inspect the output from frair_responses(). All parameters listed by frair_responses() (except X) must be provided in either start or fixed and some guidance is given on the help pages for each function about what should (and should not) be optimised.

Generally speaking fitting non-linear curves to ecological datasets can be challenging. Approaches to fitting predator-prey functional response curves are described in further detail by Juliano (2001) and Bolker (2008). Many of the pitfalls (along with very sound advice) in non-linear curve fitting in general are described by Bolker et al. 2013. Users are directed there for more information.

Note that currently all fits encoded by FRAIR use the optim optimiser with a non-default number of iterations (5000 [frair] vs. 500 [default]) and that all fits except typeI use the 'Nelder-Mead' method (see Note). This is different from the mle2 default, which currently (bbmle v. 1.0.15) uses the 'BFGS' method.

mle2 is clever inasmuch as it will return fitted values even if inverting the Hessian matrix at the optimum fails. However, this will result in a warning along the lines of:

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Warning message:
In mle2(fit, start = start, fixed = fixed, data = list(X = dat$X, :
  couldn't invert Hessian

If this happens it could mean many things, but generally speaking it is indicative of a poor fit to the data. You might consider:

  • Checking the data for transcription errors or outliers

  • Trying different starting values

  • Trying a different (simpler) curve

  • Fitting the curve outside of FRAIR using another optimiser or another approach (see the Note, below)

  • Collecting more data

Note that the advice given in mle2 to use the 'Nelder-Mead' method, is largely redundant because this is already the default in FRAIR (though you could try the 'BFGS' method quite safely...)

If convergence (i.e. fitting) fails for other reasons, see the manual page of optim.

Value

This function returns a named list of class frfit with the following named items:

call

The original call to frair_fit.

x

The original x data supplied to frair_fit.

y

The original y data supplied to frair_fit.

response

A string. The fitted response.

xvar

A string. The right hand side of formula.

yvar

A string. The left hand side of formula.

optimvars

A character vector. The optimised values (passed to start).

fixedvars

A character vector. The fixed values (passed to fixed).

coefficients

A named numeric. All coefficients needed to draw the optimised curve.

sample

A numeric vector. Always samp=c(1:nrow(data)) (c.f. class frair_boot).

fit

The raw object returned by mle2.

Objects of class frfit have print, plot and lines methods defined. See the help for those methods for more information.

Note

Future versions will allow the user more control over the underlying fitting algorithms. In the meantime FRAIR exports all of its (useful) functions so that users can fit the curves directly using their preferred method if the defaults are undesirable. See the Examples for an illustration of this approach.

Author(s)

Daniel Pritchard

References

Juliano SA (2001) Nonlinear curve fitting: Predation and functional response curves. In: Scheiner SM, Gurevitch J (eds). Design and analysis of ecological experiments. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. pp 178–196.

Bolker BM (2008) Ecological Models and Data in R. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Bolker BM and others (2013) Strategies for fitting nonlinear ecological models in R, AD Model Builder, and BUGS. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4: 501–512. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12044.

See Also

frair_boot, frair_responses, fr_rogersII.

Examples

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data(gammarus)

frair_responses() # See what is available
# A typeII fit
outII <- frair_fit(eaten~density, data=gammarus, response='rogersII', 
        start=list(a = 1.2, h = 0.015), fixed=list(T=1))

# A linear fit
outI <- frair_fit(eaten~density, data=gammarus, response='typeI', 
        start=list(a=0.5), fixed=list(T=1))

# Visualise fits
plot(outII, pch=20, col=rgb(0,0,0,0.2), xlim=c(0,30))
lines(outII)
lines(outI, lty=3)

# Have a look at original fits returned by mle2 (*highly* recommended)
summary(outII$fit)
summary(outI$fit)
# Compare models using AIC
AIC(outI$fit,outII$fit)

## Not run: 
## Fitting curves outside of FRAIR (to diagnose problems)
# Using mle2 or mle manually:
manual_fit <- mle2(rogersII_nll, start=list(a = 1.2, h = 0.015), 
        fixed=list(T=1), method='SANN', 
        data=list('X'=gammarus$density, 'Y'=gammarus$eaten))
# Note that the SANN method is *not* a general-purpose algorithm, 
#   but it will return *something*

## End(Not run)