Honors Post 7: Data Munging

As within DNA a frame shift error can have large and often detrimental
effects on a data table. I experienced this first hand at the beginning of the month when

I incorrectly entered data and spent time analyzing it. Needless to say, this error
resulted in some strange trends in the data. As modelers say: “garbage in garbage
out”.  After correcting for this error I’ve spent the remainder of the month primarily
generating graphs for each of the experiments I did this past summer and planned
out experiments for the next spring. It appears thus far that our mesocosm
experiments show the trends we suspected, but our study lacks the replication to
make any of these trends significant. Our next step forward with the mesocosm data
will be a power analysis of our work. Perhaps the most exciting revelation of the
past month is how versatile some of data can be in the hands of an ecosystem
modeler. Specifically our data collected on the attenuation of light by mud snail egg
capsules. Thanks to some direction from Dr. Chambers and Dr. Frankovich  this
set of experiments closely mirrors similar experiments done to measure the
attenuation of light be fouling algae. Because our data is formatted similarly to
these studies we can then run our data on the percentage of light attenuated
through transformations to better understand the implications of this light
reduction of eelgrass photosynthesis in the Gulf of Maine. Over the next month I plan
to work closely with Mark Brush at VIMS to learn more about the mathematic
manipulations necessary to convert our data on egg capsule attenuation to

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