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

This data expeditions module used three full course sessions to introduce undergraduate hydrology students with minimal programming background to:

  • Public water data (water quantity and chemistry)

  • Spatial analysis of water data

  • 2 core, spatial datasets produced by the USGS that enable spatial analysis

  • The programming language R

  • R based tools for water data

  • Spatial analysis and maps in R

Exposure to local pathogens is a significant selective pressure on the human genome: the strongest selective forces identified in modern human populations are for mutations that confer increased resistance to malaria infection. Understanding how human genetic variation impacts susceptibility to pathogens can reveal important aspects of disease biology and reveal novel treatment targets. By using genome-wide association of infection-related cellular traits, we can connect human genetic variation to disease susceptibility in a controlled laboratory environment. Identification of the variants, genes, and cellular pathways involved in infectious disease pathogenesis can inform host-directed therapeutics, clinically effective risk stratification, and epidemiological prediction. This data expedition explores the effect of host genetic variation on chemokine response to Chlamydia infection.

How does human habitation relate to patterns in the natural environment? How do species respond to the presence of, and changes in, habitation? In this Data Expedition, students make use of public datasets from the Census and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to examine relationships between individual species and human settlements. Students develop introductory skills in spatial data manipulation and visualization in R, exposure to powerful datasets and tools, and critical thinking skills in assessing dataset quality and bias.