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An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Stochastic Computation for the Analysis of Ecological and Epidemiological Data

A Probabilistic Test of the Neutral Model

Authors: Crispin M. Mutshinda (University of Helsinki), R. B. O'Hara (University of Helsinki), Ian P. Woiwod (Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK)


A neutral model of community dynamics has been built using the hierarchical Bayesian framework and fitted with Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods to three community datasets. To fit the data well, the model would need parameter values that are impossible. This suggests that variation in species abundances cannot be explained solely by random drift between species as suggested by the neutral model.