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PIRE Field Course 2012 Tutorial

Ecology and Biogeochemistry of the Amazon

July 8 – July 19, 2012



The purpose of the Amazon-PIRE R tutorial is to provide students with the basic tools they will need to examine and to analyze the scientific data they will acquire during the field course in the Tapajós National Forest near Santarém, Brazil in 2012. The data analysis skills will be useful long after the PIRE Field Course is over.

The goal of the tutorial is to introduce students to the statistical application "R", widely used in ecology and other sciences, finance, etc. It is essential that students attending the PIRE field course have a computer on which R is already installed and running.

Note for Mac users:
if you have access to the installation disks that came with your computer, please install the "xcode" package before starting the tutorial.

The tutorial elements

Useful files

Note on use of Microsoft Excel for data analysis

Most students have used the spreadsheet program Excel from Microsoft for data analysis. It has the apparent advantage that all of its functions are menu driven and file management is completely automatic (hidden from the user). Long experience has has shown that the tools in Excel are not adequate. Its use for analyzing data in previous courses led to frustration and errors. Excel will not be permitted as a data analysis tool in the PIRE field course.