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Oecologia. 2008 May;156(2):287-304. doi: 10.1007/s00442-008-0993-2.

Wavelet analysis of ecological time series.

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Ecole Normale Supérieure, CNRS UMR 7625, Paris, France.


Wavelet analysis is a powerful tool that is already in use throughout science and engineering. The versatility and attractiveness of the wavelet approach lie in its decomposition properties, principally its time-scale localization. It is especially relevant to the analysis of non-stationary systems, i.e., systems with short-lived transient components, like those observed in ecological systems. Here, we review the basic properties of the wavelet approach for time-series analysis from an ecological perspective. Wavelet decomposition offers several advantages that are discussed in this paper and illustrated by appropriate synthetic and ecological examples. Wavelet analysis is notably free from the assumption of stationarity that makes most methods unsuitable for many ecological time series. Wavelet analysis also permits analysis of the relationships between two signals, and it is especially appropriate for following gradual change in forcing by exogenous variables.

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