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Journal Articles Ecology Year : 2024

Using the multivariate Hawkes process to study interactions between multiple species from camera trap data

Sophie Donnet
Mark Keith
Mike Peel
Michael J Somers
Lourens H Swanepoel
Jan Venter
Hervé Fritz

Abstract

Interspecific interactions can influence species' activity and movement patterns. In particular, species may avoid or attract each other through reactive responses in space and/or time. However, data and methods to study such reactive interactions have remained scarce and were generally limited to two interacting species. At this time, the deployment of camera traps opens new opportunities but adapted statistical techniques are still required to analyze interaction patterns with such data. We present the multivariate Hawkes process (MHP) and show how it can be used to analyze interactions between several species using camera trap data. Hawkes processes use flexible pairwise interaction functions, allowing us to consider asymmetries and variations over time when depicting reactive temporal interactions. After describing the theoretical foundations of the MHP, we outline how its framework can be used to study interspecific interactions with camera trap data. We design a simulation study to evaluate the performance of the MHP and of another existing method to infer interactions from camera trap‐like data. We also use the MHP to infer reactive interactions from real camera trap data for five species from South African savannas (impala Aepyceros melampus , greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros , lion Panthera leo , blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus and Burchell's zebra Equus quagga burchelli ). The simulation study shows that the MHP can be used as a tool to benchmark other methods of interspecific interaction inference and that this model can reliably infer interactions when enough data are considered. The analysis of real data highlights evidence of predator avoidance by prey and herbivore–herbivore attraction. Lastly, we present the advantages and limits of the MHP and discuss how it can be improved to infer attraction/avoidance patterns more reliably. As camera traps are increasingly used, the multivariate Hawkes process provides a promising framework to decipher the complexity of interactions structuring ecological communities.
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hal-04465235 , version 1 (19-02-2024)

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Lisa Nicvert, Sophie Donnet, Mark Keith, Mike Peel, Michael J Somers, et al.. Using the multivariate Hawkes process to study interactions between multiple species from camera trap data. Ecology, inPress, ⟨10.1002/ecy.4237⟩. ⟨hal-04465235⟩
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