An analysis common to modern population genetics is that of finding ecological distances between objects on a landscape. The estimation of pairwise distance derived from spatial data is a computationally intensive thing, one that if you are not careful will bring your laptop to its knees! One way to mitigate this data problem is to use a minimal amount raster area so that the estimation of the underlying distance graph can be done on a smaller set of points. This example provides a simple solution using convex hulls. Jump below for the complete example.
It is often the case that the raster we are working with is not the exact size of the area from which our data are collected. It is a much easier situation if the raster is larger than the area than if you need to stitch together two raster Tiles to get all your data onto one extent. In my doctoral thesis work, the area of the southern Ozark mountains that my sites were in was not only straddling a boundary between existing rasters, it was also at the boundary of two UTM zones! What a pain.
A raster is essentially an image, whose pixel size correspond to a particular spatial extent and the data contained within each pixel represents a particular feature on the landscape. Common rasters are DEM’s (measuring elevation), rainfall, temperature, buildings, etc. In R, it is common to think of rasters as matrices whose values measure some feature on the landscape. In this section, we will examine how to acquire, load, manipulate, and extract data from raster objects.
As part of a collaboration with VDOT, I am pleased to announce that Ms. Bonnie Roderique has just joined the Dyer laboratory to work on a project around the endangered James River Spinymussel (Pleurobema collina). Not a plant, but at least not a vertebrate!
Guess what I get to do?
Another great article, this time on writing style for graduate students, from the Molecular Ecologist.
Here are the slides for the lecture on inbreeding.