`segRDA`

is designed to model non-continuous linear responses of ecological communities to environmental data. This tutorial assumes familiarity both with R and with community ordination. The package `segRDA`

is available on CRAN or the latest development version can be installed from GitHub using the package `devtools`

: https://github.com/DaniloCVieira/segRDA.

```
# to install the package via CRAN
install.packages("segRDA")
# to install the package via GitHub
devtools::install_github("DaniloCVieira/segRDA")
```

The modeling process with `segRDA`

is straightforward through three steps: **(1) data ordering** (function `OrdData`

), **(2) split-moving-window analysis** (function `SMW`

) and **(3) piecewise redundancy analysis** (function `pwRDA`

). `segRDA`

provides simualted and empirical datasets to facilitate reproducible examples. Each of these dataset is a list composed of two matrices: `envi`

and `comm`

. Through the following example code we will use the dataset `sim1`

from the package. At the end of this document, we present the key running procedures for the empirical dataset `nema`

.

```
data(sim1) ##Simulated data
x<-sim1$envi ## matrix of explanatory variables
y<-sim1$comm ## matrix of response variables
```

Both the SMW and pwRDA analyses depend on ordered datasets. The ordering can be user-defined or generated using `OrdData`

function. The latter is a wrapper for (1) performing a redundancy analysis using the `rda`

function from `vegan`

package and (2) ordering both response and explanatory matrices using one of the axes of the RDA model. Defaults to use the first RDA axis. The function also allows the user to transform community data prior to RDA analysis. The transformation is specified by the argument `method`

, which is further passed to the `decostand`

function from `vegan`

. Additional arguments from `rda`

and `decostand`

can be passed directly to the `OrdData`

function.

`OrdData`

returns an object of class `ord`

, which is a list consisting of:

`..$xo`

: the ordered explanatory matrix;`..$yo`

: the ordered community matrix (untransformed);`..$x`

: the original explanatory matrix;`..$y`

: the original community matrix;

```
xo<-sim1o$xo ## ordered explanatory matrix.
yo<-sim1o$yo ## ordered community matrix (untransformed).
```

The resulting ordered community can be represented by a species-site interaction matrix using the function `image`

, which is available from the stats package of R.

The application of SMW applied to a species matrix allows consists of (1) placing a window of even-numbered size at the beginning of the data series, (2) splitting the window into two equal halves, (3) calculating the community centroids within each half, (4) computing a dissimilarity metric between the two halves, (5) shifting window one position along the series, and (6) repeating the procedure till the end of the data series (Cornelius & Reynolds 1991). The significance of the dissimilarity values within each window is tested through multi-response permutations and includes two types of procedures: the **“random-plot”** and **“random-shift”**. The first randomizes sites along the series while preserving species composition and abundance structure of the sites. The second randomizes patterns of each species relative to each other while preserving the spatial structure of the species abundance. Therefore, choosing between random plot and random shift relies on considering sites or species as a fixed aspect of the null distribution. Both procedures include computing an expected mean dissimilarity (DS) and standard deviation (SD) for each window midpoint. Confidence limits have been suggested as one or two SD above DS or estimated from one-tailed 95% confidence intervals (Erdos et al. 2014).

The choice of window size affects the results of the SMW analysis. A *pooled* profile by averaging together dissimilarities from different window sizes reduces the scale-effect. In this case, dissimilarity profiles of the mean Z-score (standardized values of dissimilarity) are used to detect the community breakpoints.

In plot randomization, Z-scores increase at each window midpoint together with an increase in window width, but the general shape of the dissimilarity profiles remains unchanged. In contrast, the random-shift method minimizes the scale dependence of Z-scores and makes a clear distinction between non-significant and significant discontinuities (Körmöczi et al. 2016).

The package `segRDA`

implements the SMW analysis through the function `SMW`

which requires the following arguments:

`yo`

: the ordered community;`ws`

: either a single window size or a vector of several windows sizes;`dist`

: the distance metric (all distances metrics available in`vegan::vegdist`

);`rand`

: the randomization type (`"shift"`

or`"plot"`

);`n.rand`

: the number of randomizations;

The default settings are `dist="bray"`

, `rand="shift"`

and `n.rand=99`

. The running time of the analysis will depend on the number of window sizes (`length(ws)`

) multiplied by the number of randomizations `n.rand`

. In the following examples, we settled a low number of randomizations to speed up the analyses with the remaining arguments left at their default values.

```
ws20<-SMW(yo=yo,ws=20, n.rand=10)
##
## SMW analysis (1/1); w =20
pool<-SMW(y=yo,ws=c(10,20,30,40), n.rand=10)
##
## SMW analysis (1/4); w =10
##
## SMW analysis (2/4); w =20
##
## SMW analysis (3/4); w =30
##
## SMW analysis (4/4); w =40
```

`SMW`

returns invisibly an `smw`

object, which is a two-level list object describing the SMW results for each window `w`

analyzed. Each of the `w`

slots is a list containing the following results:

`..$dp`

: The raw dissimilarity profile table (DP): a data frame giving the positions, labels, values of dissimilarity and z-scores for each sample;`..$rdp`

: data frame containing the randomized DP;`..$md`

: mean dissimilarity of the randomized DP;`..$sd`

: standard deviation for each sample position;`..$oem`

: overall expected mean dissimilarity;`..$osd`

: average standard deviation for the dissimilarities;`..$params`

: list with input arguments.

`extract`

The function `extract`

allows the user to access the results cointained in a `smw`

object. The argument `index`

specifies which of the results described above will be extracted. By default, `extract`

returns an object of class `dp`

: a DP table containing significant discontinuities and suggested breakpoints. Extracting a `dp`

object implements the following auxiliary arguments:

`sig`

: defines the statistical test used to detect significant discontinuities. The statistical tests available are`"z"`

,`"sd"`

,`"sd2"`

, and`"tail1"`

;`z`

: sets the critical value valor for z-scores when`sig="z"`

;`BPs`

: defines if the breakpoints should be chosen as those site positions corresponding to the maximum dissimilarity in a sequence of significant dissimilarity values (`BPs="max"`

) or as those site positions corresponding to the median position of the sequence (`BPs="median"`

). If`NULL`

the breakpoints are not computed;`seq.sig`

: specifies the length of a sequence of significant dissimilarity values that will be considered in defining the community breakpoints.

The default settings are `index="dp"`

, `sig="z"`

, `z="1.85"`

, `BPs="max"`

and `seq.sig=3`

. The returned `dp`

object has its own generic `print`

method, `print.dp`

.

```
ws20_dp<-extract(ws20)
## Selected index: 'dp'
## 1 window size(s) available in 'smw': 20
## Window size selected: 20
## Number of breakpoints detected: 1
## Breakpoint positions: 53
ws20_dp[1:6,]
## positions sampleID diss zscore sig:z bp
## 1 10 69 0.05193119 -3.953151 ns -
## 2 11 59 0.06068431 -3.611930 ns -
## 3 12 22 0.06054280 -3.617446 ns -
## 4 13 32 0.07503193 -3.052619 ns -
## 5 14 78 0.07462687 -3.068409 ns -
## 6 15 18 0.08993373 -2.471704 ns -
```

When the `smw`

object handles multiple window sizes (hereafter referred to as *pooled* `smw`

objects), the extracted DP table will contain the z-scores averaged over the set of window sizes.

```
pool_dp<-extract(pool)
## Selected index: 'dp'
## Window sizes averaged: 10, 20, 30, 40
## Number of breakpoints detected: 1
## Breakpoint positions: 51
head(pool_dp)
## positions SiteID Average_diss Average_z sig:Z bp
## 1 5 39 0.03703704 -4.927905 ns -
## 2 6 49 0.05778070 -4.371110 ns -
## 3 7 79 0.05619454 -4.413685 ns -
## 4 8 62 0.04204993 -4.793350 ns -
## 5 9 88 0.03849951 -4.888649 ns -
## 6 10 69 0.04015701 -4.626781 ns -
```

A specific DP can be extracted from *pooled* objects by specifying a target window size (argument `w`

).

```
ws10_dp<-extract(pool, w=10)
## Selected index: 'dp'
## 4 window size(s) available in 'smw': 10, 20, 30, 40
## Window size selected: 10
## DP without any significant dissimilarity value: no breakpoint could be determined.
```

The length of consecutive, significant dissimilarity values (argument `seq.sig`

) is used as criteria for defining breakpoints. The function will display a warning if `seq.sig`

exceeds the maximum threshold:

```
ws20_dp<-extract(ws20, sig="tail1", seq.sig=20)
## Selected index: 'dp'
## 1 window size(s) available in 'smw': 20
## Window size selected: 20
## Warning: DP shows '18' significant dissimilarity values but no breakpoint could be determined for
## 'seq.sig=20'
##
## Summary stats of consecutive, significant dissimilarity values for detecting breakpoints in 'smw':
## Min. 1st Qu. Median Mean 3rd Qu. Max.
## 18 18 18 18 18 18
```

The function `bp`

is an auxiliary tool for displaying the breakpoints positions in objects of class `dp`

(if present):

Note that all other results contained in `smw`

objects (i.e. `rdp`

, `md`

, `sd`

, `oem`

, `osd`

and `params`

) comprise results of single window sizes. Thus, the argument `w`

must be specified to access them from *pooled* objects.

`plot`

The `smw`

object has a generic `plot`

method, `plot.smw`

. This command is a convenience wrapper for accessing and viewing the results cointained in a `smw`

object. Auxiliary arguments from `extract`

(i.e. `sig`

, `z`

, `BPs`

and `seq.sig`

) can be passed to `plot.smw`

. The function returns invisibly a DP table (object class `dp`

) and plots the location of the window midpoints vs. dissimilarity values. By default, significant dissimilarity values are given in “red” and the breakpoints in “blue”.

The background area of the graph can be coloured according to the breakpoints location (argument `bg`

). These colors are controled by the arguments `bg`

and `bg_alpha`

. The colors generated for each sample can be acessed through the command `bgDP(dp)`

(where `dp`

is an object of class `dp`

). As we shall see later, this vector may be useful in the simultaneous visualization of the results the `SMW`

and `pwRDA`

. For the complete list of graphical parameters, please go to `help(plot.smw)`

.

```
par(mfrow = c(1, 2), cex = 0.9)
plot(pool, w = 10, main = "DP from a single window (10)", cex.main = 0.8)
plot(pool, main = "DP from pooled windows (10, 20, 30 and 40)", bg = c("rainbow"),
cex.main = 0.8)
```

A second type of plot is available for *pooled* `smw`

objects: the window size effect. When the `smw`

object is *pooled* and the argument `w.effect`

is `TRUE`

, the `plot`

method drawns together the profiles obtained from the different window sizes.

Once the breakpoints have been defined and their significance tested, the pwRDA can be implemented. It is done with the function `pwRDA`

. The function has three arguments: `x`

explanatory variables, `y`

response variables and `BPs`

the positions of the breakpoints. The function displays a message with the main result of the analysis:

The function returns an invisible list with following descriptors:

`..$summ`

: a vector containing the summarized statistics.`..$rda.0`

and`..$rda.pw`

: the respectives`cca`

objects from the full and “pw”" RDA models. These objects can be used in all functions that applies to`vegan::cca.object`

. More details for accessing and plotting a`cca.object`

are in`help(cca.object)`

and`help(plot.cca)`

, respectivaly.

The command `bgDP`

applied to the object returned by the fuction `plot.smw`

returns the `bg`

colors for each sample. It can be used for a simultaneous view of the results of the `SMW`

and `pwRDA`

analyses.

```
head(pw.sim$summ)
## Statistic P.value
## FULL 0.6446842 0.0010000000
## PW 0.8240577 0.0000045212
## F 3.1083641 0.0082726695
par(mfrow = c(1, 3), cex = 0.65)
# plotting the full rda model:
plot(pw.sim$rda.0, main = "full RDA model", las = 1)
# plotting the DP profile and saving the output in an new object
dp <- plot(pool, main = "DP from pooled windows \n (10, 20, 30 and 40)",
bg = c("gold2", "firebrick1"), cex.main = 0.8)
# plotting the pwRDA colored according to the breakpoints:
plot(pw.sim$rda.pw, type = "n", scaling = 3, main = "pwRDA model")
points(pw.sim$rda.pw, pch = 16, col = bgDP(dp), cex = 1.2)
text(pw.sim$rda.pw, display = "bp", pch = 16, col = "steelblue4", lwd = 2)
```

`nema`

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Cornelius, J.M. & Reynolds, J.F. (1991). On Determining the Statistical Significance of Discontinuities with Ordered Ecological Data. Ecology, 72, 2057–2070.

Erdos, L., Bátori, Z., Tölgyesi, C.S. & Körmöczi, L. (2014). The moving split window (MSW) analysis in vegetation science - An overview. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, 12, 787–805.

Körmöczi, L., Bátori, Z., Erdős, L., Tölgyesi, C., Zalatnai, M. & Varró, C. (2016). The role of randomization tests in vegetation boundary detection with moving split-window analysis. Journal of Vegetation Science, 27, 1288–1296.

Oksanen, J., Blanchet, F.G., Friendly, M., Kindt, R., Legendre, P., McGlinn, D., Minchin, P.R., O’Hara, R.B., Simpson, G.L., Solymos, P., Stevens, M.H.H., Szoecs, E. & Wagner, H. (2017). vegan: Community Ecology Package.