Summary: BIOL4062 & 5062: Analysis of Biological Data - 2009 FALL
Instructor: Henry Whitehead
E-mail : HWHITEHE@DAL.CA
Biologists are increasingly using quantitative techniques to analyze larger and larger data sets. It
is clear that a command of the available analytical techniques is an important part of the set of
skills which are expected of a trained biologist, especially those working in the broad area of
ecology. The class will introduce techniques available for the analysis of biological data,
including correlation, regression and multivariate methods. Emphasis will be on the practical use
and abuse of these techniques rather than derivations or mathematical formulae. Students will
explore real and realistic data sets. There will be lectures on the use of techniques, and students
will try them out using real and simulated data sets.
Type 1 assignments
In these assignments, each student will be given an artificial, but realistic, data set to analyze.
The data sets given to the different students will be structurally similar but numerically different.
Graduate students (BIOL5062) will sometimes be asked to perform more analyses than
undergraduates (BIOL4062). The data should be analyzed using a computer statistical package
(see below), and you should hand in a short write-up of each (more detailed instructions with
each data set). In the write-up explain clearly what you did, what you found, and what you think
the results might mean biologically.
Type 2 assignments