A spatiotemporal multispecies model of a semicontinuous response

Charlotte M. Jones-Todd, Ben Swallow, Janine B. Illian, Mike Toms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


As accessible and potentially vulnerable species high up in the food chain, birds are often used as indicator species to highlight changes in ecosystems. This study focuses on multiple spatially dependent relationships between a raptor (sparrowhawk), a potential prey species (house sparrow) and a sympatric species (collared doves) in space and time. We construct a complex spatiotemporal latent Gaussian model to incorporate both predator–prey and sympatric relationships, which is novel in two ways. First, different types of species interactions are represented by a shared spatiotemporal random effect, which extends existing approaches to multivariate spatial modelling through the use of a joint latent modelling approach. Second, we use a delta–gamma model to capture the semicontinuous nature of the data to model the binary and continuous sections of the response jointly. The results indicate that sparrowhawks have a localized effect on the presence of house sparrows, which could indicate that house sparrows avoid sites where sparrowhawks are present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-722
JournalJournal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics)
Issue number3
Early online date4 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Integrated nested Laplace approximation
  • Joint model
  • Multivariate spatiotemporal modelling
  • Stochastic partial differential equation approach


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