The first paper accepted in Methods in Ecology & Evolution is now available online!

This paper is by Alain Zuur, Elena Ieno and Chris Elphick – Alain is well known in the ecological and R community for his books Analysing Ecological Data, Mixed Effects Models and Extensions in Ecology with R and A Beginner’s Guide to R and for the courses he runs on statistics. Elena Ieno is senior marine biologist at Highland Statistics Ltd. In 2004 she left academia to work full time in statistical consultancy. She now teaches statistics to ecologists and has shown she can bridge the  gap between the two disciplines and dispel the dread of statistics shown by many biologists. Chris Elphick is a conservation biologist, based at the University of Connecticut, who primarily works on avian ecology in agricultural habitats and salt marshes.

In this paper Alain and colleagues draw on their experience of teaching and advising to highlight problems in the analysis of data and how they can be avoided by appropriate exploratory analysis. Specifically they look at:

  • Detecting outliers
  • Heterogeneity of variance
  • Dependence of observations
  • Interactions
  • Zeros in multivariate data
  • Zero inflation
  • Identifying correct relationships between X and Y

They provide examples and advice in the paper. They also include the R code and datasets as a supplement, so readers can work through the examples themselves, which is a great help.

This paper should be of interest to anyone actively involved in the analysis of ecological data.