Exploring lemur olfactory communication via statistical analyses in R

Project Summary

Questions asked: Do males and females scent mark equally? Do lemurs scent mark equally in breeding and non-breeding seasons?

Themes and Categories
Paul Bendich

Graduate students: Lydia Greene and Kendra Smyth

Faculty instructor: Julie Teichroeb

Course: EVANTH 246: Sociobiology

Data set: The frequency of scent-marking behavior in the Coquerel’s sifaka

Dependent variable: scent-marking frequency

Potential explanatory variables: sex, season, age, group size, free ranging, amount of time observed, individual identity

  • Step 1: Visualizing data and testing for normalcy (histograms, dotcharts, box plots, Shapiro test)
  • Step 2: Choosing an appropriate distribution and test
  • Step 3: Applying the test in R (Wilcoxon tests and GLMMs)
  • Step 4: Interpreting results

Model <- glmmadmb(Scentmark ~ Sex + Season + Group.size + Age + FR + (1|Individual) + offset(log(Obs..Time)), data=data, family=”nbinom”, zeroInflation=TRUE)

Related Projects

The aim of this data expedition was to give students an introduction to stable isotopes and how the data can be used to understand trophic dynamics. 

Marine mammals exhibit extreme physiological and behavioral adaptions that allow them to dive hundreds to thousands of meters underwater despite their need to breathe air at the surface. Through the development of new remote monitoring technologies, we are just beginning to understand the mechanisms by which they are able to execute these extreme behaviors. Long- term animal-borne tags can now record location, dive depth, and dive duration and then transmit these data to satellite receivers, enabling remote access to behavior occurring both many kilometers out to sea and several kilometers below the ocean surface. 

The aim of this Data Expedition was for students to learn hands-on data visualization techniques using a variety of data types. Students first discussed how data visualization is useful, and tips to make graphs both visually appealing and easy to understand.