Dr. Mark Gardener 



Statistics for Ecologists Using R and Excel (Edition 2)Data Collection, Exploration, Analysis and Presentationby: Mark GardenerAvailable now from Pelagic Publishing Welcome to the support pages for Statistics for Ecologists. These pages provide information and support material for the book. You will find an outline and table of contents as well as support datafiles and additional material. Support Index  Data files  Exercises & supplementary notes 

Outline and Table of Contents


Overview of Statistics for Ecologists Using R and Excel (Edition 2). Subject matter 
What is the subject of this book?This is a book about the scientific process and how you apply it to data in ecology. You will learn how to plan for data collection, how to assemble data, how to analyze data and finally how to present the results. The book uses Microsoft Excel and the powerful Open Source R program to carry out data handling as well as producing graphs. Statistics help you make sense of data, which is generated in all branches of science. Ecology is a wideranging and important science, which helps our understanding of the natural world. Who this book is forStudents of ecology and environmental science will find this book aimed at them although many other scientists will find the text useful as the principles and data analysis are the same in many disciplines. No prior knowledge is assumed and the reader can develop their skills up to degree level. What you will learn in this bookThis is a book about the scientific process and how you apply it to data in ecology. You will learn how to plan for data collection, how to assemble data, how to analyze data and finally how to present the results. The book uses Microsoft Excel and the powerful Open Source R program to carry out data handling as well as producing graphs. Specific topics include:
What's new in edition twoThe changes from the first edition can be summarized like so:
How this book is arrangedThe book is broadly laid out in four sections, roughly corresponding to the topics: planning, recording, analysing and reporting. The sections are rather unequal in length, with the focus on the analysis chapters and production of graphics. Throughout the book you will see example exercises that are intended for you to try out. In fact they are expressly aimed at helping you on a practical level; reading how to do something is fine but you need to do it for yourself to learn it properly. The Have a Go exercises are hard to miss. 

Table of Contents overview 
Table of ContentsUse the following table/links to jump directly to a chapter and see the outline and a few notes. 

List of chapter headings  
Chapter 1. Planning The scientific method 
Chapter 1. PlanningThis chapter is about the preparation stages required before starting to collect data or carry out any analyses. The chapter includes notes on planning for data collection and getting appropriate software (that is R and Excel). 1.1 The scientific methodThis section outlines the scientific method and provides a framework for all projects and data analysis. 1.2 Types of experiment/projectThis section deals with the types of project that could be encountered and provides a framework that allows the reader to characterise a project, which leads to the most appropriate method of analysis. 1.3 Getting data  using a spreadsheetThis brief section highlights the importance of the spreadsheet and especially points out the usefulness of it in relation to pilot studies and as a tool for overview. 1.4 Hypothesis testingThis section introduces the idea of the hypothesis, a subject that will be returned to in chapter 5. 1.5 Data typesThis section introduces the different types of data that can be encountered (Interval, Ordinal and Categorical) and gives some examples of ordinal scales (Domin and Braun Blanquet) that can be used in data collection. 1.6 Sampling effortThis section introduces methods of data collection and includes notes on the amount of data to collect as well as quadrat sizes for example. The ideas of random and systematic sampling are introduced. The main purpose of this section is to highlight the importance of your samples being representative. 1.7 Tools of the tradeThis brief section highlights the importance of the software tools that will be used. 1.8 The R programThe R program is an important and powerful tool for data analysis. This section shows the reader how to obtain the program and install it on their computer. 1.9 ExcelA spreadsheet is a useful tool as it allows your data to be held in an formal manner that can be shared. The spreadsheet also allows us to carry out various analyses and produce graphs. In this section the main focus is on installation of the Analysis ToolPak in Excel. This tool allows a number of analyses to be carried out more efficiently that using the regular spreadsheet formulae. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 2. Data recording How to arrange data 
Chapter 2. Data recordingThis chapter is brief yet important! The arrangement of data is a fundamentally important aspect of data analysis. Get this part right and your subsequent analyses are greatly facilitated. Get this part wrong and you will have to spend a lot of time rearranging data before analysis can be done. The main thrust of this chapter is to introduce the idea of Biological Records and the Biological Recording format. This standard format is very flexible and allows your data to be used for multiple purposes very easily. 2.1 Collecting data  who, what, where, whenThis section deals with the basics of Biological Records and what elements should be recorded. 2.2 How to arrange dataThe arrangement of data is of fundamental importance as a poor layout will make it hard to extract the information you require. This section shows how to arrange data in the Biological Recording format, which permits the data to be utilized more easily. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 3. Beginning data exploration  using software tools R basics 
Chapter 3. Beginning data exploration – using software toolsThis chapter is aimed at getting the reader more familiar with the software that they will use for data analysis, specifically Excel and R. 3.1 Beginning to use RThis section introduces the R program and helps readers get started using this powerful program. The section includes notes on various topics including:
By the end of this section the reader should be competent and confident with using R and be prepared for more detailed data analysis using the R interface. 3.2 Manipulating data in a spreadsheetThis section introduces some important aspects of Excel, topics include:
These skills are really important and when combined with Biological Recording format allow data to be utilized easily and flexibly. 3.3 Getting data from Excel into RThis brief section shows how to transfer data from Excel into R. The spreadsheet is really useful as a data storage program and for initial overviews. Although many statistical and graphical analyses can be carried out in Excel the R program is a dedicated data analysis tool; the more complicated the data the more likely it is that you will be using R rather than Excel. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 4. Exploring data  looking at numbers Summarising data 
Chapter 4. Exploring data – looking at numbersThis chapter begins the actual process of data analysis. The exploratory methods introduced here are the basics that should be carried out on all data. Methods covered include:
4.1 Summarising dataThis section deals with the idea of the average as a summary of a numerical sample:
After some basic introduction the section deals with how to determine averages in Excel and R. 4.2 DistributionThis section deals with the distribution of the data (that is normal or skewed). Specifically the reader is shown how to create Tally plots and Histograms to visualise the data distribution. The reader is shown how to create a histogram using Excel and R. There is also a brief section on producing density plots (using R), which can be used with a histogram to compare two different distributions. 4.3 A numerical value for the distributionThis section looks at measures of dispersion, specifically:
There are notes on how to determine these measures using Excel and using R. The idea of the box plot (boxwhisker plot) is also introduced here as a useful visual aid. This section ends with some notes on why n1 is used in calculations of standard deviation. 4.4 Statistical tests for normal distributionThis brief section illustrates one method of testing the assumption that a sample is normally distributed. The ShapiroWilk test is shown (using the R program). 4.5 Distribution typeThis section begins with a note of what summary statistics should be used with normal or skewed distribution. The rest of the section includes notes on some other statistics, namely:
These statistics are related to the normal distribution and link in with the idea of hypothesis testing. 4.6 Transforming dataSince the normal distribution is so important it is helpful to coerce data into normal form if is skewed. This section introduces the idea of data transformation and illustrates several common methods including:
There are some notes on how to do these transformations in Excel and using R. 4.7 When to stop collecting data? The running averageThis section introduces the idea of the running mean as a way to determine when the sample size is adequate. 4.8 Statistical symbolsThis section illustrates a few of the more commonly encountered statistical symbols, summarized in a handy table. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 5. Exploring data  which test is right? Hypothesis testing 
Chapter 5. Exploring data – which test is right?This brief chapter shows the reader how to select the most appropriate analytical test for their data. There is also a brief reminder of the idea of the hypothesis. 5.1 Types of projectIt can be helpful to think about the type of project you are undertaking, as this can help guide you towards the most appropriate method(s) of analysis. In this section you'll see the different sorts of potential project and the kinds of analysis that might be suitable. 5.2 Hypothesis testingThis section revisits the idea of the hypothesis as an analytical tool. 5.3 Choosing the correct testThis section guides the reader towards the most appropriate test. The section includes a decision tree that points to the correct section of the book. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview.


Chapter 6. Exploring data  using graphs Exploratory graphs: Graphs to show differences: Graphs to show correlation and regression: Graphs to show association: Graphs to show similarity: 
Chapter 6. Exploring data – using graphsThis chapter has been revised extensively from the original version. It is now a complete overview of graphical presentation and summary of data. You'll see how to produce the best sort of graph for the job at hand, using examples in both Excel and R. Other chapters incorporate graphics as required but this chapter forms the general foundation, which you can use as a basic reference. 6.1 Introduction to data visualizationThis section provides an overview of graph types, showing which sort is best for which task. There are also summaries about how to create graphs in Excel and in R, with the basics to get you started. There are notes about the Chart Tools in Excel and the basic R commands that help you produce and edit graphs. 6.2 Exploratory graphsThis section shows the kind of graphical summary most useful in visualizing data, including:
These graphs would generally be used to determine the distribution of the data sample(s). 6.3 Graphs to illustrate differencesThis section shows the most useful graphs to illustrate differences:
There are also notes about using legends, which are especially useful for multiple category bar charts. 6.4 Graphs to illustrate correlation and regressionThis section focusses on the sorts of graph used for illustrating correlations, that is scatter plots. Line plots are also covered, they aren't exactly used for correlation but show changes over fixed (time) periods, and so fit best in this section. 6.5 Graphs to illustrate associationThis section shows the kinds of graph used when looking at associations:
Pie charts are commonly used for displaying compositional data. A better alternative is a bar chart. There are notes about how to display the results if chi squared tests of association using R and Excel. 6.6 Graphs to illustrate similarityThis section deals with the sorts of graph used to illustrate similarity between samples. These are dendrograms, and are used in community ecology (see Chapter 12). 6.7 Graphs – a summaryThe chapter ends with a brief summary, which includes... ExercisesSome selfassesment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 7. Tests for differences Student's ttest Matched pairs tests: 
Chapter 7. Tests for differencesThis chapter examines the basic tests for differences between two samples, namely:
These underpin many of the more complicated tests and are important building blocks for further analysis. 7.1 Differences: ttestThe ttest is an important analytical tool that uses the properties of the normal distribution to make decisions about differences between two sample means. In this section the ttest is introduced with a little background/theory. A table of critical values for the ttest is provided (with a copy in the appendix). The way to use the ttest in both Excel and R is shown. There is also a section showing how to use the Analysis ToolPak in Excel to carry out the ttest. 7.2 Differences: UtestThe Utest is a nonparametric test, that is it is used when the sample data are skewed and do not form the normal distribution. The Utest compares two sample medians. The Utest is introduced with a little background/theory and its use in R is shown. Excel cannot carry out a Utest easily although some tips are shown. A table of critical values for the Utest is provided (with a copy in the appendix). 7.3 Paired testsWhen data are in the form of matched pairs it is possible to use a special version of the ttest or Utest (according to the distribution of the data, see Chapter 4). Both tests are illustrated with examples. For normally distributed data the paired ttest is shown. For skewed data the Wilcoxon matched pairs test is shown. A table of critical values for the Wilcoxon test is provided (the ttest table is the same as for the regular ttest). Paired tests can be carried out in R and this is illustrated. Excel can carry out the ttest but not the Wilcoxon test. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 8. Tests for linking data  correlations Spearman's rank correlation Curvilinear regression: 
Chapter 8. Tests for linking data – correlationsThis chapter looks at links between data, namely correlation. The basic principles of correlation are illustrated using a nonparametric method (Spearman Rank) and parametric (normal distribution: Pearson product moment). The idea of correlation is extended to include curvilinear correlation, which is simply an extension of regular regression/correlation. Use of Excel and R for carrying out correlation is shown with examples. 8.1 Correlation: Spearman’s rank testThe Spearman's Rank correlation test examines the link between two variables that are not normally distributed. The test is described with some background theory and an example. A table of critical values for the Spearman rank coefficient is provided (with a copy in the appendix). 8.2 Pearson’s product momentPearson's product moment is used when the data are normally distributed (see Chapter 4). The test is described and a table of critical values is provided (with a copy in the appendix). This method of correlation is also known as regression and the principles apply to more complicated situations where there are more than two variables to compare; this is covered in Chapter 11 (multiple regression). 8.3 Correlation tests using ExcelExcel is able to carry out Pearson correlation and this is described in the text (using basic functions as well as the Analysis ToolPak). The text also describes how to add a line of best fit to your scatter plots. There are no inbuilt functions to carry out Spearman's rank test in Excel but the text describes how you can carry out the calculations using simple functions. 8.4 Correlation tests using RR can carry out a range of correlation tests including Spearman's rank and Pearson product moment. Both of these are described in the text. The text also describes how to use R to add lines of best fit to your scatter plots. 8.5 Curved linear correlationCurved linear correlation/regression is simply an extension of the regular correlation. Two examples of curvilinear correlation are described:
These situations arise fairly commonly in natural science. The situations are described only briefly in this section but they are covered in greater depth in Chapter 11. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 9. Tests for linking data  associations ChiSquared test of association 
Chapter 9. Tests for linking data – associationsThis chapter deals with tests of association, specifically variations on the chi squared test. These tests use data that are categorical. The chapter deals with the basic chi squared test as well as goodness of fit testing, where you match one set of categories with another. How to carry out the tests in both Excel and R is covered, with additional material on graphing the results. 9.1 Association: Chisquared testWhen you have two sets of categories you can examine for associations using the chi squared test. This section deals with the chi squared test in general with a worked example. When you have a 2 x 2 contingency table the Yates correction can be used and this is also described. A table of critical values for the chi squared statistic is provided (with a copy in the appendix). The text also describes how to determine Pearson residuals, which are useful in presenting and interpreting results of chi squared tests of association. 9.2 Goodness of fit testIf you have two sets of categorical data you can match them using a goodness of fit test. The test is illustrated using some genetic data, a classic use of the goodness of fit test, where you compare the offspring of pea plants to the theoretical ratio expected under genetic theory. 9.3 Using R for Chisquared testsThis section guides you through the processes required to conduct chi squared tests for association and goodness of fit using R. There are also notes and exercises to help you produce graphs that illustrate your results. 9.4 Using Excel for Chisquared testsThis section guides you through the processes required to conduct chi squared tests for association and goodness of fit using Excel. There are also notes and exercises to help you produce graphs that illustrate your results. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 10. Differences between more than two samples Analysis of variance ANOVA Posthoc testing: 
Chapter 10. Differences between more than two samplesWhen you have more than two samples to compare you will need a more complicated analytical approach. This chapter covers the two main methods of analysis:
ANOVA is used when you have normally distributed data (see Chapter 4). When the data are not normally distributed the KruskalWallis test is used. Use of both Excel and R is illustrated in the text. 10.1 Analysis of varianceANOVA allows you to compare more than two samples. When you have a single variable to compare the situation is called oneway ANOVA. However, you may have more than one variable and twoway ANOVA (or more) is possible. This section looks at a range of options when using ANOVA including:
ANOVA is described in general and then the calculations are described for both R and Excel. Use of the Analysis ToolPak Excel addin is also described for one or twoway ANOVA. There are critical values tables (with copies in the appendix) for the Fdistribution and for Q, the Studentized range, which is used in posthoc testing. There are also some notes about graphing the results of ANOVA for both R and Excel. 10.2 Kruskal–Wallis testIf your data are not normally distributed (see Chapter 4) then the KruskalWallis test is suitable in lieu of 1way ANOVA. This is described in the text as well as a method of posthoc testing. Tables of critical values for the KruskalWallis test are quite extensive and there are several versions, for use with different sample sizes. Table of critical values are presented in the support material rather than in the book itself (you can see the critical values tables here). Excel is unable to carry out the test "automatically" but there are several functions that can help carry out the required calculations and these are described in the text (there is also an exercise that walks you through the necessary steps). R can conduct KruskalWallis easily and the processes are described in the text with some examples. Conducting a posthoc test for KruskalWallis tests is slightly cumbersome. You can find custom R functions for KW posthoc testing on the support pages. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 11. Tests for linking several factors Multiple regression Curvilinear regression: Logistic regression for binomial data 
Chapter 11. Tests for linking several factorsWhen you have several variables to correlate you need a more complicated analytical tool. Multiple regression is the one you require; this uses the properties of the normal distribution. In this chapter multiple regression is described in detail. Curved linear regression is also described (this was introduced in Chapter 8). A special kind of regression is required when your response variable can only have two forms (e.g. present or absent); this is logistic regression (or binomial regression). Logistic regression is far from trivial to undertake in Excel, so it is described in detail using R. 11.1 Multiple regressionVarious aspects of multiple regression are described, including:
Multiple regression is introduced and illustrated using both Excel and R. The use of R is extended by demonstrating how to carry out stepwise regression  this is a method of building the most appropriate regression for your data. 11.2 Curvedlinear regressionCurved linear regression is demonstrated using two examples:
Curvilinear regression is described using both Excel and R. There are also notes about graphing the results and how to add curved lines of best fit to your graphs. 11.3 Logistic regressionLogistic regression is another form of regression and is used when you have binary data (e.g. presenceabsence). Excel cannot easily carry out logistic regression but R can do this fairly easily and this is illustrated using two different examples. Logistic regression is a form of Generalized Linear Modelling (GLM). You'll also see how to build a regression model and how to plot the results as a scatter plot with a line of "bestfit". There is an online exercise in logistic regression modelbuilding on the support pages. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 12. Community ecology Diversity: Similarity: Dissimilarity metrics: Dendrogram for visualising similarity 
Chapter 12. Community ecologyThis is a new chapter, especially written for the new second edition. In ecology you are often looking at several species at once, that is you are looking at communities. The analytical methods for exploring community data are generally rather more complicated than when dealing with single species. However, there are a couple of useful statistical approaches that can be easily carried out. These are diversity and similarity, which are described in this chapter. 12.1 DiversityIn a general sense the term diversity (or biodiversity) relates to the number of species in a given area (or sample). However, this is only one way to measure biodiversity. In an ecological sense the term diversity covers several methods of analysis. It is therefore important that you state what sort of diversity you are referring to. The measures of diversity you’ll see in this section are:
Two main indices of diversity covered in the text are:
You'll see how to calculate diversity using Excel and R. Comparing diversity indices can be tricky. The support website contains an exercise in comparing (Shannon) diversity using the Hutcheson ttest. You can download the Excel spreadsheet for use with your own data. 12.2 SimilarityThe analysis of similarity does essentially what the name suggests; it compares samples and allows you to see which are most similar to one another. This can be useful when comparing many samples. This section covers several methods of calculating similarity, using both Excel and R. Visualising similarity is done using a special sort of graph called a dendrogram. The text shows you how to draw a dendrogram in various ways:
The support material includes a walkthrough exercise on building a dendrogram using Excel (there is an associated data file). ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 13. Reporting results Reporting results of statistical tests 
Chapter 13. Reporting resultsThe presentation of your work is an important stage in the scientific process. It helps you to move forwards and to determine “what next?” as well as adding to the body of scientific knowledge and helping other researchers in the future. This chapter is concerned with the reporting of results. There are sections covering some of the conventions for reporting of statistical tests as well as notes about writing reports in various formats. 13.1 Presenting findingsThis brief section gives some ideas about the kinds of presentation namely:
13.2 PublishingThis brief section gives some ideas for places that your work might be published. There are many options ranging from a scientific journal to a press release. 13.3 Reporting results of statistical analysesIt is important to present your findings in a manner that can be understood by your peers. If you are presenting results to the general public then you may have to alter the presentation to suit your audience, but you still keep to the conventions used by scientists in displaying results. This section shows the main conventions used to display the results of statistical analyses. 13.4 GraphsThis section has been heavily revised since the first edition. The "how to" parts have been removed to Chapter 6 and what remains is more of a guide to "good practice". The section provides an overview/reminder of graph types and their uses and also of the main elements that you should aim to incorporate for best effect. 13.8 Writing papersThe aim of a paper is to disseminate your results as widely as possible. It is all about communication of your scientific endeavour! This section provides a summary of the main elements of a scientific paper. The various elements form a basic framework that applies to more or less all scientific presentations, regardless of the audience. You may place different emphasis on certain elements (or omit them entirely) but you always keep the basic framework in mind. The structure is important because readers need to know where to find certain pieces of information. 13.9 PlagiarismPlagiarism is a form of stealing. Essentially it involves you setting forth someone’s work and passing it off as if it were your own. Of course you need to use previous knowledge in your work but you need to acknowledge where your knowledge/information came from. This section gives a few pointers about how to avoid plagiarism. The key to avoiding plagiarism is to know how and when to cite references, the subject of the next section. 13.10 ReferencesReferences come in two parts. There is a bit in the text that essentially says “look at this for information” and a list at the end that gives the original sources. References are important because they allow readers to see where your information came from and helps avoid plagiarism. References are also useful as pointers to information (e.g. to figures and tables in your report). This section give the key elements of references and shows some different methods for employing citations in your text. 13.11 Poster presentationsA poster allows you to make a presentation, which is left on display for hours, sometimes days. It can potentially reach hundreds of people because it is hanging around for so long. At meetings there is usually a set session where you stand by your poster and present it to anyone who expresses an interest; otherwise it stands alone. This section provides some notes about the use of posters as a means to disseminate your results. 13.12 Giving a talk (PowerPoint)PowerPoint (or equivalent software) is virtually ubiquitous and is familiar to most people. It can be a great tool for presenting information but it can also be used badly! This short section gives a few notes about "best practice" for use of PowerPoint presentations. ExercisesSome selfassessment questions (answers in the appendix). SummaryA summary of the main topics covered in the chapter. Provides a quick summary/overview. 

Chapter 14. Summary 
Chapter 14. SummaryThis is a very brief summary to remind you that there is more to data analysis than just doing statistics. 

Glossary 
GlossaryThe glossary is a simple list of useful terms alongside a brief explanation. 

Appendix Answers to selfassessment exercises 
AppendixThe appendix contains two main sections:
The answers to the questions are set out in chapter order. The critical values tables are copies of those in the main text but presented en masse to form a more useful resource. 

My Publications  My Publications See my personal pages at GardenersOwn 

Follow me... 


See also: 
KeywordsHere is a list of keywords: it is by no means complete! Ttest, Utest, KruskalWallis, Analysis of Variance, Spearman Rank, Correlation, Regression, Logistic Regression, Curved linear regression, histogram, scatter plot, bar chart, boxwhisker plot, pie chart, Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Standard Error, Range, Max, Min, Interquartile Range, IQR 

Top  DataAnalytics Home  Contact  GardenersOwn Homepage 