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Keywords:

  • Bacteria;
  • Convergence;
  • Ecology;
  • Hierarchical model;
  • Process model

Abstract

Process models specified by non-linear dynamic differential equations contain many parameters, which often must be inferred from a limited amount of data. We discuss a hierarchical Bayesian approach combining data from multiple related experiments in a meaningful way, which permits more powerful inference than treating each experiment as independent. The approach is illustrated with a simulation study and example data from experiments replicating the aspects of the human gut microbial ecosystem. A predictive model is obtained that contains prediction uncertainty caused by uncertainty in the parameters, and we extend the model to capture situations of interest that cannot easily be studied experimentally.