BCE {BCE}R Documentation

Bayesian Composition Estimator


this function is now superseded by the alternative link{bce1}.

estimates probability distributions of a sample composition based on an input ratio matrix, Rat, containing biomarker ratios in (field) samples, and an input data matrix, Dat, containing the biomarker ratios for several taxonomic groups


BCE(Rat, Dat, relsdRat = 0, abssdRat = 0, minRat = 0, 
  maxRat = +Inf, relsdDat = 0, abssdDat = 0, tol = 1e-4, tolX = 1e-4,
  positive = 1:ncol(Rat), iter = 100, outputlength = 1000,
  burninlength = 0, jmpRat = 0.01, jmpX = 0.01, unif = FALSE,
  verbose = TRUE, initRat = Rat, initX = NULL, userProb = NULL,
  confInt = 2/3, export = FALSE, file = "BCE")



initial ratio matrix. Each row of Rat contains the biomarker composition of one taxon. As a result of the Bayesian procedure, this initial ratio matrix will be altered.


initial data matrix. Each row of Dat contains the biomarker composition of one (field) sample.


relative standard deviation on ratio matrix. Either one number or a matrix with the same dimensions as Rat.


absolute standard deviation on ratio matrix. Either one number or a matrix with the same dimensions as Rat.


minimum values of ratio matrix. Either one number or a matrix with the same dimensions as Rat.


maximum values of ratio matrix. Either one number or a matrix with the same dimensions as Rat.


relative standard deviation on data matrix. Either one number or a matrix with the same dimensions as Dat.


absolute standard deviation on data matrix. Either one number or a matrix with the same dimensions as Dat.


minimum standard deviation for data matrix Dat. One value.


minimum x values. Used for MCMC initiation. One value.


A vector containing numbers of columns that should contain strictly positive data. Only these columns are rescaled. The other columns (not in positive) are not rescaled, and can become negative.


number of iterations for MCMC.


number of iterations kept in the output.


number of initial iterations to be removed from output.


jump length of the ratio matrix Rat (in normal space). Either a number, a vector with length equal to the number of biomarkers (number of columns in Rat), or a or matrix with the same dimensions as the ratio matrix rat.


jump length of the composition matrix (in a simplex). Either one number, a vector of length equal to the number of taxa (number of rows in Rat) or a matrix with the same dimensions = c(number of taxa, number of field samples).


logical; if TRUE a uniform distribution for ratio matrix is used. This is similar as in chemtax.


logical; if TRUE, extra information is provided during the run of the function, such as extra warnings, elapsed time and expected time until the end of the MCMC.


ratio matrix used to start the markov chain: defaults to the initial ratio matrix.


composition matrix used to start the markov chain: default the LSEI solution of Ax=B.


function taking two arguments: ratio matrix RAT and composition matrix X, and returning the posterior probability. Dependence of the probability on the data should be incorporated in the function. If not specified, the default probability distribution is the product of a non-informative distribution on the composition matrix, and gamma distributions for the ratio matrix and the data given the model output.


confidence interval in output; because the distributions may not be symmetrical, standard deviations are not always a useful measure; instead, upper and lower boundaries of the given confidence interval are given. Default is 2/3, i.e there is a probability of 0.66 for a value to be contained within the interval.


logical; if TRUE, the function export.bce is called and a list of variables and plots are exported to the specified file.


Only if export is TRUE. If not NULL, a character string specifying the file to which objects are saved.


The function BCE searches probability distributions for all elements of a taxonomical composition matrix X and a ratio matrix Rat for which:

X%*%Rat ~= Dat

It does this by returning iter samples for X and Rat, organized in three-dimensional arrays. The input data matrix Dat and ratio matrix Rat should be in the following formats, with the relative concentrations per biomarker organized in columns:

data matrix:

marker1 marker2 marker3 marker4
sample1 0.14 0.005 0.35 0.033
sample2 0.15 0.004 0.36 0.034
sample3 0.13 0.004 0.31 0.030
sample4 0.13 0.005 0.33 0.031
sample5 0.14 0.008 0.33 0.036
sample6 0.11 0.082 0.34 0.044

and ratio matrix:

marker1 marker2 marker3 marker4
species1 0.27 0.13 0.35 0.076
species2 0.084 0 0.5 0.24
species3 0.195 0.3 0 0.1
species4 0.06 0 0 0
species5 0 0 0 0
species6 0 0 0 0


A bce (bayesian compositional estimator) object; a list containing 4 elements


Array with dimension c(nrow(Rat),ncol(Rat), iter) containing the random walk values of the ratio matrix Rat.


Array with dimension c(nrow(X),ncol(X),iter) containing the random walk values of the composition matrix X.


vector with length iter containing the random walk values of the (log) posterior probability.


integer indicating the number of runs that were accepted.


Producing sensible output:

Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations are not as straightforward as one might wish; several preliminary runs might be necessary to determine the desired number of iterations, burn-in length and jump length. For all estimated values of Rat and X, their trace (evolution of the values over all iterations) has to display random behaviour; no obvious trends should appear. A few parameters can be tuned to obtain such behaviour:


Karel Van den Meersche <k.vdmeersche@nioo.knaw.nl>, Karline Soetaert <k.soetaert@nioo.knaw.nl>.


Van den Meersche, K., K. Soetaert and J.J. Middelburg (2008) A Bayesian compositional estimator for microbial taxonomy based on biomarkers, Limnology and Oceanography Methods 6, 190-199

See Also

summary.bce, plot.bce, export.bce, pairs.bce



# example using bceInput data
# first try

X <- BCE(bceInput$Rat,bceInput$Dat,relsdRat=.2,relsdDat=.2,

## the number of accepted runs is too low;
## we play around with the jump lengths jmpX and jmpRat

X <- BCE(bceInput$Rat,bceInput$Dat,relsdRat=.2,relsdDat=.2,

## we inspect the output:

## For every element of X and Rat, we want to obtain a well-mixed,
## random trace. In this case, mixing is still a little poor.
## to optimize mixing in the ratio matrix, it is a good idea
## to make the jump length linear to the ratio matrix
## standard deviation (sdrat=.2*rat) :
X <- BCE(bceInput$Rat,bceInput$Dat,relsdRat=.2,relsdDat=.2,

## mixing improved a lot; we repeat the run with more iterations
## to improve the reliability of the results.
## the following run can take a few minutes - so it is toggled off
#X <- BCE(bceInput$Rat,bceInput$Dat,relsdRat=.2,relsdDat=.2,
#         iter=100000,outputlength=5000,jmpX=.02,
#         jmpRat=.2*(.2*bceInput$Rat))
## you can see in the plots that traces for all elements of Rat and X
## are well-mixed. This run was saved in "bceOutput"

Sum <-summary(bceOutput)

# show results as mean with ranges

# plot estimated means and ranges (lbX=lower, ubX=upper bound)
xlim <- range(c(Sum$lbX,Sum$ubX))

# first the mean
         main="Taxonomic composition",
         sub="using bce",pch=16)

# then ranges
nr <- nrow(Sum$meanX)
nc <- ncol(Sum$meanX)

for (i in 1:nr) 
{ip <-(nr-i)*(nc+2)+1
 cc <- ip : (ip+nc-1)

# show results as pairs plot
pairs(bceOutput,sample=3,main="Station 3")

[Package BCE version 2.1 Index]