Eigen analysis

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The Eigen analysis results are a set of demographic statistics:

1) Lambda or dominant eigenvalue: The population will be stable, grow or decrease at a rate given by lambda: eg: λ = 1 (population is stable), λ > 1 (population is growing) and finally λ < 1 (populatiopn is decreasing) .

2) The stable stage distribution: It is the proportion of the number of individuals per stage and it is given by (w).

Elasticity and Sensitivity: Sensitivity and elasticity analyses are prospective analyses.

3) The sensitivity matrix: The sensitivity gives the effect on λ of changes in any entry of the matrix, including those that may, an a given context, be regarded as fixed at zero or some other value. The derivative tells what would happened to λ if aij was to change, not whether, or in what direction, or how much, aij actually change. The hypothetical results of such impossible perturbations may or may not be of interest, but they are not zero. It is up to you to decide whether they are useful (Caswell 2001).

When comparing the λ-sensitivity values for all matrix elements one can find out in what element a certain increase has the biggest impact on λ. However, a 0.01 increase in a survival matrix element is hard to compare to a 0.01 increase in a reproduction matrix element, because the latter is not bound between 0 and 1 and can sometimes take high values. Increasing matrix element a14 (number of S (seedlings) the next year produced by an G (Reproductive individuals)) with 0.01 from 7.666 to 7.676 does not have a noticeable effect on λ. For comparison between matrix elements it can therefore be more insightful to look at the impact of proportional changes in elements: by what percentage does λ change if a matrix element is changed by a certain percentage? This proportional sensitivity is termed elasticity (Description based on Oostermeijer data, based on Jongejans & de Kroon 2012).

4) The Elasticity matrix: The elasticities sum to 1 across the whole matrix (Caswell 1986; de Kroon et al. 1986; Mesterton-Gibbons 1993) and can be interpreted as proportional contributions of the corresponding vital rates to the matrix (see van Groenendael et al. 1994).

5) Reproductive value (v): scaled so v[1]=1. To what extent will a plant or animal of a determinate category or stage , contribute to the ancestry of future generation.

6) The damping ratio: it can be considered as a measure of the intrinsic resilience of the population, describing how quickly transient dynamics decay following disturbance or perturbation regardless of population structure, the larger the p, the quicker the population converges.

Those statistics are function of the vital rates, and througt them of biological and environmental variables.

For further details see:

Caswell, H. 1986. Life cycle models for plants. Lectures on Mathematics in the Life Sciences 18: 171-233.
Caswell, H. 2001. Matrix population models: Construction, analysis and interpretation, 2nd Edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Horvitz, C., D.W. Schemske, and Hal Caswell. 1997. The relative "importance" of life-history stages to population growth: Prospective and retrospective analyses. In S. Tuljapurkar and H. Caswell. Structured population models in terrestrial and freshwater systems. Chapman and Hall, New York.
Jongejans E. & H. de Kroon. 2012. Matrix models. Chapter in Encyclopedia of Theoretical Ecology (eds. Hastings A & Gross L) University of California, p415-423
de Kroon, H. J., A. Plaiser, J. van Groenendael, and H. Caswell. 1986. Elasticity: The relative contribution of demographic parameters to population growth rate. Ecology 67: 1427-1431.
Mesterton-Gibbons, M. 1993. Why demographic elasticities sum to one: A postscript to de Kroon et al. Ecology 74: 2467-2468.
van Groenendael, J., H. de Kroon, S. Kalisz, and S. Tuljapurkar. 1994. Loop analysis: Evaluating life history pathways in population projection matrices. Ecology 75: 2410-2415.

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