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Phylogenetics Fun

Phylogenetics Fun

While I’ve been working fairly extensively with data processing and R all throughout my project, I’ve reached a point where the real coding challenges begin. Up to till now, the scripts I have written have been fairly straightforward. I’ve mostly just been data processing: pulling columns and variables out of CSV files, sorting which species are herbs or shrubs, and determining which plots I need to visit. Now that all my data is in a format where I know I can use it, the analyses begin, particularly, phylogenetic analyses. 

One of the fun things about R are the many packages other scientists have developed. These packages allow you to easily (well…sometimes easily) manipulate very specific data structures such as phylogenetic trees! I am lucky to have a whole suite of these packages to help me with my analyses, which have saved me so much time when it comes to calculating things like the phylogenetic diversity of my plots. 

While this aspect of my project will likely be challenging, I am excited! I’ve been working with my data all summer, and I am eager to see what we can discover from it. Not only will I be learning how phylogenetic diversity is changing throughout the East Woods, but I’ll also get a better perspective of how to analyze data in a meaningful way.