#nonlinear_regression

Analysing seed germination and emergence data with R: a tutorial. Part 5

Published at December 23, 2021 ·  14 min read

This is a follow-up post. If you are interested in other posts of this series, please go to: https://www.statforbiology.com/tags/drcte/. All these posts exapand on a paper that we have recently published in the Journal ‘Weed Science’; please follow this link to the paper. Comparing germination/emergence for several seed lots Very often, seed scientists need to compare the germination behavior of different seed populations, e.g., different plant species, or one single plant species submitted to different temperatures, light conditions, priming treatments and so on....


Why are derivatives important in life? A case-study with nonlinear regression

Published at June 9, 2021 ·  7 min read

In general, undergraduate students in biology/ecology courses tend to consider the derivatives as a very abstract entity, with no real usefulness in the everyday life. In my work as a teacher, I have often tried to fight against such an attitude, by providing convincing examples on how we can use the derivatives to get a better understanding about the changes on a given system. In this post I’ll tell you about a recent situation where I was involved with derivatives....


Other useful functions for nonlinear regression: threshold models and all that

Published at May 1, 2021 ·  13 min read

In a recent post I presented several equations and just as many self-starting functions for nonlinear regression analyses in R. Today, I would like to build upon that post and present some further equations, relating to the so-called threshold models. But, … what are threshold models? In some instances, we need to describe relationships where the response variable changes abruptly, following a small change in the predictor. A typical threshold model looks like that in the Figure below, where we see three threshold levels:...


The R-squared and nonlinear regression: a difficult marriage?

Published at March 25, 2021 ·  4 min read

Making sure that a fitted model gives a good description of the observed data is a fundamental step of every nonlinear regression analysis. To this aim we can (and should) use several techniques, either graphical or based on formal hypothesis testing methods. However, in the end, I must admit that I often feel the need of displaying a simple index, based on a single and largely understood value, that reassures the readers about the goodness of fit of my models....


Pairwise comparisons in nonlinear regression

Published at January 19, 2021 ·  6 min read

Pairwise comparisons are one of the most debated topic in agricultural research: they are very often used and, sometimes, abused, in literature. I have nothing against the appropriate use of this very useful technique and, for those who are interested, some colleagues and I have given a bunch of (hopefully) useful suggestions in a paper, a few years ago (follow this link here). Pairwise comparisons usually follow the application of some sort of linear or generalised linear model; in this setting, the ‘emmeans’ package (Lenth, 2020) is very handy, as it uses a very logical approach....


Accounting for the experimental design in linear/nonlinear regression analyses

Published at December 4, 2020 ·  11 min read

In this post, I am going to talk about an issue that is often overlooked by agronomists and biologists. The point is that field experiments are very often laid down in blocks, using split-plot designs, strip-plot designs or other types of designs with grouping factors (blocks, main-plots, sub-plots). We know that these grouping factors should be appropriately accounted for in data analyses: ‘analyze them as you have randomized them’ is a common saying attributed to Ronald Fisher....


Seed germination: fitting hydro-time models with R

Published at March 23, 2020 ·  16 min read

THE CODE IN THIS POST WAS UPDATED ON JANUARY 2022 I am locked at home, due to the COVID-19 emergency in Italy. Luckily I am healthy, but there is not much to do, inside. I thought it might be nice to spend some time to talk about seed germination models and the connections with survival analysis. We all know that seeds need water to germinate. Indeed, the absorption of water activates the hydrolytic enzymes, which break down food resources stored in seeds and provide energy for germination....


A collection of self-starters for nonlinear regression in R

Published at February 26, 2020 ·  29 min read

Usually, the first step of every nonlinear regression analysis is to select the function \(f\), which best describes the phenomenon under study. The next step is to fit this function to the observed data, possibly by using some sort of nonlinear least squares algorithms. These algorithms are iterative, in the sense that they start from some initial values of model parameters and repeat a sequence of operations, which continuously improve the initial guesses, until the least squares solution is approximately reached....


Self-starting routines for nonlinear regression models

Published at February 14, 2020 ·  8 min read

In R, the drc package represents one of the main solutions for nonlinear regression and dose-response analyses (Ritz et al., 2015). It comes with a lot of nonlinear models, which are useful to describe several biological processes, from plant growth to bioassays, from herbicide degradation to seed germination. These models are provided with self-starting functions, which free the user from the hassle of providing initial guesses for model parameters. Indeed, getting these guesses may be a tricky task, both for students and for practitioners....


Nonlinear combinations of model parameters in regression

Published at January 9, 2020 ·  11 min read

Nonlinear regression plays an important role in my research and teaching activities. While I often use the ‘drm()’ function in the ‘drc’ package for my research work, I tend to prefer the ‘nls()’ function for teaching purposes, mainly because, in my opinion, the transition from linear models to nonlinear models is smoother, for beginners. One problem with ‘nls()’ is that, in contrast to ‘drm()’, it is not specifically tailored to the needs of biologists or students in biology....


Fitting 'complex' mixed models with 'nlme': Example #4

Published at September 13, 2019 ·  11 min read

Testing for interactions in nonlinear regression Factorial experiments are very common in agriculture and they are usually laid down to test for the significance of interactions between experimental factors. For example, genotype assessments may be performed at two different nitrogen fertilisation levels (e.g. high and low) to understand whether the ranking of genotypes depends on nutrient availability. For those of you who are not very much into agriculture, I will only say that such an assessment is relevant, because we need to know whether we can recommend the same genotypes, e....


Germination data and time-to-event methods: comparing germination curves

Published at July 20, 2019 ·  11 min read

Very often, seed scientists need to compare the germination behaviour of different seed populations, e.g., different plant species, or one single plant species submitted to different temperatures, light conditions, priming treatments and so on. How should such a comparison be performed? Let’s take a practical approach and start from an appropriate example: a few years ago, some collegues studied the germination behaviour for seeds of a plant species (Verbascum arcturus, BTW…), in different conditions....


Survival analysis and germination data: an overlooked connection

Published at July 2, 2019 ·  16 min read

The background Seed germination data describe the time until an event of interest occurs. In this sense, they are very similar to survival data, apart from the fact that we deal with a different (and less sad) event: germination instead of death. But, seed germination data are also similar to failure-time data, phenological data, time-to-remission data… the first point is: germination data are time-to-event data. You may wonder: what’s the matter with time-to-event data?...


Some useful equations for nonlinear regression in R

Published at January 8, 2019 ·  22 min read

Introduction Very rarely, biological processes follow linear trends. Just think about how a crop grows, or responds to increasing doses of fertilisers/xenobiotics. Or think about how an herbicide degrades in the soil, or about the germination pattern of a seed population. It is very easy to realise that curvilinear trends are far more common than linear trends. Furthermore, asymptotes and/or inflection points are very common in nature. We can be sure: linear equations in biology are just a way to approximate a response over a very narrow range for the independent variable....