Can interaction coefficients be determined from cencus data?

Michael L. Rosenzweig, Zvika Abramsky, Burt Kotler, william Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The method of estimating interactions proposed independently by Pimm and Schoener is studied using field data from the community of rodents which lives in the arid, rocky habitats of Israel. One important problem the method addresses is how to remove the effects of habitat heterogeneity on the estimate. We tried six different variations of the analysis scheme outlined by Crowell and Pimm, and found their results qualitatively inconsistent. This was especially true when we compared the results produced from separate habitat variables with those produced from the principal components of the habitat variation. Another problem, this one not previously addressed, is great variation in the average abundance of the different species. We discovered that the ratio of the average abundances of two species is the best predictor of the value of their coefficients of interaction. Common species appear to have weak influence on rare ones; rare ones appear to have strong influence on common ones. The statistical mechanism which produces this relationship is clear, indicating that the relationship is an artifact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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