Rapid surrogate testing of wavelet coherences
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Kansas Biological Survey, University of Kansas,
2 Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
3 Marine Institute, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
4 Marine Biological Association of the UK, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
5 Laboratory of Populations, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Ave., New York, NY 10065, USA
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 9 March 2017
Published online: 24 May 2017
Background. The use of wavelet coherence methods enables the identification of frequency-dependent relationships between the phases of the fluctuations found in complex systems such as medical and other biological timeseries. These relationships may illuminate the causal mechanisms that relate the variables under investigation. However, computationally intensive statistical testing is required to ensure that apparent phase relationships are statistically significant, taking into account the tendency for spurious phase relationships to manifest in short stretches of data.
Methods. In this study we revisit Fourier transform based methods for generating surrogate data, with which we sample the distribution of coherence values associated with the null hypothesis that no actual phase relationship between the variables exists. The properties of this distribution depend on the cross-spectrum of the data. By describing the dependency, we demonstrate how large numbers of values from this distribution can be rapidly generated without the need to generate correspondingly many wavelet transforms.
Results. As a demonstration of the technique, we apply the efficient testing methodology to a complex biological system consisting of population timeseries for planktonic organisms in a food web, and certain environmental drivers. A large number of frequency dependent phase relationships are found between these variables, and our algorithm efficiently determines the probability of each arising under the null hypothesis, given the length and properties of the data.
Conclusion. Proper accounting of how bias and wavelet coherence values arise from cross spectral properties provides a better understanding of the expected results under the null hypothesis. Our new technique enables enormously faster significance testing of wavelet coherence.
Key words: continuous wavelet transform / significance testing / surrogates / Fourier transforms
© L.W. Sheppard et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.