bmotif is software for motif analyses of bipartite networks. It can
count occurrences of motifs in bipartite networks, as well as the number
of times each node or link appears in each unique node or link position
within motifs (a node or link’s structural role).
weighted as well as unweighted networks: the mean weight of motifs can
be calculated, as well as the standard deviation of motifs mean weights;
weighted versions of node and link position counts are also supported
(see below). As well as R, core functionality is also available in
originally developed to analyse bipartite species interaction networks
in ecology but its methods are general and can be applied to any
Note that the released version on CRAN currently only has support for counting motif occurrences and node positions. It does not have support for link positions or weighted networks, which are currently only available in the development version (these will be added to the CRAN version when development is finalised).
To install the released version from CRAN:
To install the development version from GitHub:
install.packages("devtools") # install the devtools package devtools::install_github("SimmonsBI/bmotif", build_vignettes = TRUE) # install bmotif
Common issue when installing
Some users have reported issues installing
bmotif without the
package being installed. Therefore we recommend installing
Common issue when installing on Windows
If installing on Windows, you might get an error saying something like ‘Rtools is required to build R packages, but no compatible version was found’. Even after you install the latest version of Rtools you may get ‘ERROR: compilation failed for package ’bmotif’. If you get these errors, try these steps:
- Install the latest version of the ‘devtools’ package:
- Download the latest version of Rtools and follow the guidelines
to install. It describes how to set some PATH variables.
Essentially, when given the option to modify the Window PATH
variables during the Rtools installation, choose to do this, then
add the following to the top of the PATH variables text field:
- Now you can use
Sys.getenv('PATH')in R to make sure the correct PATH variables appear.
- If the PATH variables are there, run
devtools::find_rtools()which should now return
- Try installing bmotif again and it should work!
bmotif considers all 44 unique bipartite motifs up to six nodes.
Within these motifs there are 148 unique node positions and 106 unique
link positions. All motifs, node positions and link positions considered
bmotif are shown in the Figure below. This is the ‘dictionary’ used
by bmotif: the canonical reference for all motif, node position and link
position IDs used by the package and returned by the functions.
Large numbers above and to the left of each motif represent the ID of a motif. Small numbers at the end of links represent node position IDs within motifs. Small numbers to the left of each motif represent link position IDs within motifs: the colour of the link position number corresponds to the colour of the links in the motif. Colours are colourblind safe following the palette proposed by Wong et al (2011). Motif IDs and node position IDS can also be found in Simmons, B. I., Sweering, M. J. M., Schillinger, M., Dicks, L. V., Sutherland W. J., Di Clemente, R. bmotif: a package for motif analyses of bipartite networks. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 10(5), 695-701.. Link position IDs are only in the Figure above. Node positions were defined following Baker et al (2015) Appendix 1 Figure A27.
Consider the example of motif 5:
We know this is motif 5 because the large number above and to the left of the motif gives the motif ID as 5. This motif contains four unique node positions, given by the numbers at the ends of each link: 9, 10, 11 and 12. This motif also contains three unique link positions given by the three coloured numbers to the left of the motif. The leftmost link between positions 9 and 12 is in link position 5, the rightmost link between positions 10 and 11 is in link position 6, and the middle diagonal link between positions 10 and 12 is in link position 7.
bmotif has three functions, with can all be used with binary or
- Unweighted: counts how many times each motif occurs in a bipartite network
- Weighted: calculates the mean weight of motifs and the standard deviation of their weights
- Unweighted: counts the number of times each node occurs in each of the unique node positions within the motifs.
- Weighted: calculates a range of weighted metrics, such as the mean link strength of a each node in each position or the contribution of each node to each motif’s total weight
- Unweighted: counts the number of times each link occurs in each of the unique link positions within the motifs.
- Weighted: calculates the number of times each link occurs in each unique link position, multiplied by each link’s strength
Weighted methods for
link_positions and the ‘mora’ method in
node_positions were originally defined by Mora et al. (2018).
The code is released under the MIT license (see LICENSE file).
If you use the package in your work, please cite: Simmons, B. I., Sweering, M. J. M., Schillinger, M., Dicks, L. V., Sutherland W. J., Di Clemente, R. bmotif: a package for motif analyses of bipartite networks. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10(5), 695-701.
If you use any of the weighted analyses originally defined by Mora et
al. (2018) (weighted
link_positions and the ‘mora’
node_positions), please additionally cite: Mora, B.B.,
Cirtwill, A.R. and Stouffer, D.B., 2018. pymfinder: a tool for the motif
analysis of binary and quantitative complex networks. bioRxiv, 364703.
Baker, N.J., Kaartinen, R., Roslin, T. and Stouffer, D.B., 2015. Species’ roles in food webs show fidelity across a highly variable oak forest. Ecography, 38(2), pp.130-139.
Mora, B.B., Cirtwill, A.R. and Stouffer, D.B., 2018. pymfinder: a tool for the motif analysis of binary and quantitative complex networks. bioRxiv, 364703.
Wong, B. Points of view: Color blindness. Nat. Methods 8, 441 (2011).