Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The Hermans–Rasson test as a powerful alternative to the Rayleigh test for circular statistics in biology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Lukas Landler, Graeme D. Ruxton, E. Pascal Malkemper

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Background:  Circular data are gathered in diverse fields of science where measured traits are cyclical in nature: such as compass directions or times of day. The most common statistical question asked of a sample of circular data is whether the data seems to be drawn from a uniform distribution or one that is concentrated around one or more preferred directions. The overwhelmingly most-popular test of the null hypothesis of uniformity is the Rayleigh test, even though this test is known to have very low power in some circumstances. Here we present simulation studies evaluating the performance of tests developed as alternatives to the Rayleigh test.

Results:  The results of our simulations demonstrate that a single test, the Hermans and Rasson test is almost as powerful as the Rayleigh test in unimodal situations (when the Rayleigh test does well) but substantially outperforms the Rayleigh test in multimodal situations.

Conclusion:  We recommend researchers switch to routine use of the new Hermans and Rasson test. We also demonstrate that all available tests have low power to detect departures from uniformity involving more than two concentrated regions: we recommend that where researchers suspect such complex departures that they collect substantially-sized samples and apply another recent test due to Pycke that was designed specifically for such complex cases. We provide clear textual descriptions of how to implement each of these recommended tests and encode them in R functions that we provide.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Ecology
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019

    Research areas

  • R functions, Animal navigation, Migration, Emlen funnel, Behaviour, Biostatistics, Circadian, Chronobiology

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. The demography of human warfare can drive sex differences in altruism

    Micheletti, A. J. C., Ruxton, G. D. & Gardner, A., 11 Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Evolutionary Human Sciences.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The dicey dinner dilemma: asymmetry in predator-prey risk-taking, a broadly-applicable alternative to the life-dinner principle

    Humphreys, R. K. & Ruxton, G. D., 9 Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Journal of Evolutionary Biology. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Birdsbesafe® collar cover reduces bird predation by domestic cats (Felis catus)

    Pemberton, C. & Ruxton, G. D., 8 Oct 2019, In : Journal of Zoology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Secondary dispersal mechanisms of winged seeds: a review

    der Weduwen, D. & Ruxton, G. D., Oct 2019, In : Biological Reviews. 94, 5, p. 1830-1838 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  5. Deconstructing collective building in social insects: implications for ecological adaptation and evolution

    Invernizzi, E. & Ruxton, G. D., 8 Aug 2019, In : Insectes Sociaux. First Online, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Related by journal

  1. Plant composition changes in a small-scale community have a large effect on the performance of an economically important grassland pest

    Qin, X., Wu, H., Huang, X., Lock, T. R., Kallenbach, R. L., Ma, J., Ali, M. P., Tu, X., Cao, G., Wang, G., Nong, X., McNeill, M. R. & Zhang, Z., 4 Sep 2019, In : BMC Ecology. 19, 18 p., 32.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Genetic censusing identifies an unexpectedly sizeable population of an endangered large mammal in a fragmented forest landscape

    McCarthy, M. S., Lester, J. D., Howe, E. J., Arandjelovic, M., Stanford, C. B. & Vigilant, L., 25 Aug 2015, In : BMC Ecology. 15, 1

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Forced monogamy in a multiply mating species does not impede colonisation success

    Deacon, A. E., Barbosa, M. & Magurran, A. E., 12 Jun 2014, In : BMC Ecology. 14, 18, 9 p., 18.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Impact of biodiversity-climate futures on primary production and metabolism in a model benthic estuarine system

    Hicks, N., Bulling, M., Solan, M., Raffaelli, D., White, P. & Paterson, D. M., 14 Feb 2011, In : BMC Ecology. 11, 7.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 260532368

Top