A simple approach for the computation of multiple periodicities in biological time series

Anoop V. Rao, Vijay Kumar Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We have described a simple approach for the analysis and isolation of multiple periodicities from a biological time series. For the estimation of the periodicities, we used simulated data and data from ongoing experiments in our laboratory. Two time series were simulated, one which consisted of only white noise and the other consisted white noise along with periodicities of 6, 11, 17 and 23 h, to demonstrate that our method can successfully isolate multiple patterns in a time series. Our method of analysis is objective, simple, flexible and adaptive since it distinctly delineates the individual contribution from an overlap of multiple periodicities. The key features of our method are: (i) identification of a reliable phase reference point, (ii) scanning the time series using a moving window in increments, (iii) use of Siegel's modification of Fisher's method to detect significant periodicit(y)ies in the time series. The use of window sizes of increasing length to examine the time series elegantly reduces noise while identifying periodicities that are otherwise not apparent. Finally, the periodogram can be smoothed in order to normalize the contribution by attendant frequency components within the waveform. A minimum critical value for relative contribution of various frequencies was calculated to delineate the periodicities that contributed significantly to the time series. We executed this method of time series analysis using MS Excel and C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-502
Number of pages16
JournalBiological Rhythm Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology (medical)


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