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How to use a Distance Matrix as an Independent Variable

justearth
justearth asked
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

Let's say I have a 100 locations. I know the distance between each location (i.e. distance matrix).  How can I use the distance matrix (or some derivative) as an independent variable to access significance (if any) with the dependent/response variable(s)?

Any ideas?

Thanks,
JE
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Commented:
It really depends on what you are trying to figure out. If you are looking at some type of density measure, then just the average of all the distances could be your variable. You could also use the whole matrix of 9900 distances as independent variables, but that's probably too many to get useful results. You could use back propogation or something to choose a subset of the distances to use.

There's a lot of different things you could do that would make sense in some scenarios but not in others. What are the dependent variables and what other independent variables do you have?

Author

Commented:
TommySzalapski:

My dependent variables are Population Mean and Population Trend (slope) of a mammal.  I have other independent variable measuring various aspects of habitat.  I have the suspicion that these distances may be 'important' with regards to the dependent variables.  I am just looking for a way or ways to do this or at least think about it.

Thanks,
JE
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Commented:
Okay. And the 100 locations are sites where these mammals typically live?
Yes.

Thanks for the other thoughts. They are helpful.

Cheers,
JE
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Commented:
To expand a bit; you should pick several radii not just one and use each one separately (1mi, 2mi, 5mi, or whatever is good for your mammal). I would also suggest using both the count of other sites within the radius and the total number of animals in those sites (or average size of neighboring communities instead of total to avoid multicorrelation).

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Commented:
Thanks again.

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