Fun stuff with R

Published on: Author: dmetlay Leave a comment

I’m working with a couple of PhD students at University of Washington, being as one of their assistants. My focus is to find the home ranges of mule and white tail deer using R studio and ArcMap. Seems a simple task. Unfortunately, I wish that is so.

Problem lies in figuring out how to write right code to get the results we search for. There are many ways to write and perform analysis on R, and since there are way too many of them, it is hard to determine which one is the one that will give us what we want. When I do figure out how to find areas of home range, I need to determine the parameters to measure the home range. If my parameters are too small, I will omit some deer’s data and if my parameters are too big, I will include some deer’s outliner data. But the parameters must be at right size to calculate the number of data (I have about 8,000+ observations/locations to go through), too small parameters would not run. That is my current task – finding right parameters for analysis.

When I am able to obtain home ranges areas and perimeters, I will analyze if the home ranges have changed. My home ranges will be based on wildfires – there will be two groups of home ranges calculations. First group will be those home ranges recorded before 2015 wildfire in Northern Central Washington and second group will be those home ranges recorded after 2015 wildfire. Statistical analysis will be used to see if there is any difference.

Hopefully, I am able to figure out all of that before the internship ends, so I can create a sharable map including home range areas for PhD students to work with and share with departments/organizations that PhD students work with.

Entire goal of doing this methodology is to see if it is possible to recreate this method for different researches, especially for those need to establish a fire management. Using home range calculations, it is possible to understand how deer (or any other animal) are affected by fire or other variable (for instance, presence of wolf which is also part of this study but not part of my focus), or not at all.

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