Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Fourier analysis to detect phenological cycles using long-term tropical field data and simulations
Author(s): Bush, ER
Abernethy, Katharine
Jeffery, Kathryn Jane
Tutin, Caroline E G
White, Lee
Dimoto, Edmond
Dikangadissi, Jean-Thoussaint
Jump, Alistair
Bunnefeld, Nils
Contact Email:
Keywords: Flowering
Spectral analysis
Tropical forests
Time-series data
Climate change, Circular analysis
Lopé National park
Issue Date: May-2017
Citation: Bush E, Abernethy K, Jeffery KJ, Tutin CEG, White L, Dimoto E, Dikangadissi J, Jump A & Bunnefeld N (2017) Fourier analysis to detect phenological cycles using long-term tropical field data and simulations, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 8 (5), pp. 530-540.
Abstract: * Changes in phenology are an inevitable result of climate change, and will have wide-reaching impacts on species, ecosystems, human society and even feedback onto climate. Accurate understanding of phenology is important to adapt to and mitigate such changes. However, analysis of phenology globally has been constrained by lack of data, dependence on geographically limited, non-circular indicators and lack of power in statistical analyses.  * To address these challenges, especially for the study of tropical phenology, we developed a flexible and robust analytical approach - using Fourier analysis with confidence intervals - to objectively and quantitatively describe long-term observational phenology data even when data may be noisy. We then tested the power of this approach to detect regular cycles under different scenarios of data noise and length using both simulated and field data.  * We use Fourier analysis to quantify flowering phenology from newly available data for 856 individual plants of 70 species observed monthly since 1986 at Lopé National Park, Gabon. After applying a confidence test, we find that 59% of the individuals have regular flowering cycles, and 88% species flower annually. We find time series length to be a significant predictor of the likelihood of confidently detecting a regular cycle from the data. Using simulated data we find that cycle regularity has a greater impact on detecting phenology than event detectability. Power analysis of the Lopé field data shows that at least six years of data are needed for confident detection of the least noisy species, but this varies and is often greater than 20 years for the most noisy species.  * There are now a number of large phenology datasets from the tropics, from which insights into current regional and global changes may be gained, if flexible and quantitative analytical approaches are used. However consistent long-term data collection is costly and requires much effort. We provide support for the importance of such research and give suggestions as to how to avoid erroneous interpretation of shorter length datasets and maximize returns from long-term observational studies.
DOI Link:
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bush, E. R., Abernethy, K. A., Jeffery, K., Tutin, C., White, L., Dimoto, E., Dikangadissi, J.-T., Jump, A. S. and Bunnefeld, N. (2017), Fourier analysis to detect phenological cycles using long-term tropical field data and simulations. Methods Ecol Evol, 8: 530–540, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Bush et al. Fourier for tropical phenology 2016.11.1.pdf1.6 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.