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Bayesian Multimodel Inference for Geostatistical Regression Models

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posted on 10.11.2011, 00:25 by Devin S. Johnson, Jennifer A. Hoeting

The problem of simultaneous covariate selection and parameter inference for spatial regression models is considered. Previous research has shown that failure to take spatial correlation into account can influence the outcome of standard model selection methods. A Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method is investigated for the calculation of parameter estimates and posterior model probabilities for spatial regression models. The method can accommodate normal and non-normal response data and a large number of covariates. Thus the method is very flexible and can be used to fit spatial linear models, spatial linear mixed models, and spatial generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs). The Bayesian MCMC method also allows a priori unequal weighting of covariates, which is not possible with many model selection methods such as Akaike's information criterion (AIC). The proposed method is demonstrated on two data sets. The first is the whiptail lizard data set which has been previously analyzed by other researchers investigating model selection methods. Our results confirmed the previous analysis suggesting that sandy soil and ant abundance were strongly associated with lizard abundance. The second data set concerned pollution tolerant fish abundance in relation to several environmental factors. Results indicate that abundance is positively related to Strahler stream order and a habitat quality index. Abundance is negatively related to percent watershed disturbance.

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