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The International Journal of Biostatistics

Ed. by Chambaz, Antoine / Hubbard, Alan E. / van der Laan, Mark J.

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A Fast and Robust Way to Estimate Overlap of Niches, and Draw Inference

Judith H. Parkinson / Raoul Kutil / Jonas KupplerORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4409-9367 / Robert R. Junker / Wolfgang Trutschnig / Arne C. Bathke
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  • Department of Mathematics, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunner Straße 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
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Published Online: 2018-06-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijb-2017-0028


The problem of quantifying the overlap of Hutchinsonian niches has received much attention lately, in particular in quantitative ecology, from where it also originates. However, the niche concept has the potential to also be useful in many other application areas, as for example in economics. We are presenting a fully nonparametric, robust solution to this problem, along with exact shortcut formulas based on rank-statistics, and with a rather intuitive probabilistic interpretation. Furthermore, by deriving the asymptotic sampling distribution of the estimators, we are proposing the first asymptotically valid inference method, providing confidence intervals for the niche overlap. The theoretical considerations are supplemented by simulation studies and a real data example.

Keywords: rank statistics; Asymptotics; Bootstrap; overlap of populations; niches


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About the article

Received: 2017-03-31

Revised: 2018-02-16

Accepted: 2018-05-23

Published Online: 2018-06-15

Funding Source: Austrian Science Fund

Award identifier / Grant number: 10.13039/501100002428

This article was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (10.13039/501100002428), Grant Number: I 2697-N31.

Citation Information: The International Journal of Biostatistics, Volume 14, Issue 2, 20170028, ISSN (Online) 1557-4679, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijb-2017-0028.

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