I am more of a traditional ‘bucket’ ecologist with an affection for microbes. I tend to study multi-dimensional ecological issues to test various elements of ecological and evolutionary theory. One such current issue is ‘ecological masking,’ or that the response to one variable (e.g., geography) may mask that of another variable (e.g., animal developmental or diet), due to unequal strength of these variables/ecological factors.
I’ve used a number of PCoAs and find support for the concept, but am unable to truly test these ‘ecological tiers’ simultaneously because such informatic tools – like a q2 plug-in – have yet to materialize. Would it be possible to work with an engineer to design such an application?
This idea of ecological masking is not unique to my system and has been hinted at in the human/mammal literature but not formally tested, and is a universal concept.