#R

Fitting 'complex' mixed models with 'nlme': Example #2

Published at September 13, 2019 ·  9 min read

A repeated split-plot experiment with heteroscedastic errors Let’s imagine a field experiment, where different genotypes of khorasan wheat are to be compared under different nitrogen (N) fertilisation systems. Genotypes require bigger plots, with respect to fertilisation treatments and, therefore, the most convenient choice would be to lay-out the experiment as a split-plot, in a randomised complete block design. Genotypes would be randomly allocated to main plots, while fertilisation systems would be randomly allocated to sub-plots....


Fitting 'complex' mixed models with 'nlme': Example #3

Published at September 13, 2019 ·  11 min read

Accounting for the experimental design in regression analyses In this post, I am not going to talk about real complex models. However, I am going to talk about models that are often overlooked by agronomists and biologists, while they may be necessary in several circumstances, especially with field experiments. 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)....


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

Published at September 13, 2019 ·  10 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....


Fitting 'complex' mixed models with 'nlme'. Example #1

Published at August 20, 2019 ·  9 min read

The environmental variance model Fitting mixed models has become very common in biology and recent developments involve the manipulation of the variance-covariance matrix for random effects and residuals. To the best of my knowledge, within the frame of frequentist methods, the only freeware solution in R should be based on the ‘nlme’ package, as the ‘lmer’ package does not easily permit such manipulations. The ‘nlme’ package is fully described in Pinheiro and Bates (2000)....


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?...


Stabilising transformations: how do I present my results?

Published at June 15, 2019 ·  5 min read

ANOVA is routinely used in applied biology for data analyses, although, in some instances, the basic assumptions of normality and homoscedasticity of residuals do not hold. In those instances, most biologists would be inclined to adopt some sort of stabilising transformations (logarithm, square root, arcsin square root…), prior to ANOVA. Yes, there might be more advanced and elegant solutions, but stabilising transformations are suggested in most traditional biometry books, they are very straightforward to apply and they do not require any specific statistical software....


Genotype experiments: fitting a stability variance model with R

Published at June 6, 2019 ·  8 min read

Yield stability is a fundamental aspect for the selection of crop genotypes. The definition of stability is rather complex (see, for example, Annichiarico, 2002); in simple terms, the yield is stable when it does not change much from one environment to the other. It is an important trait, that helps farmers to maintain a good income in most years. Agronomists and plant breeders are continuosly concerned with the assessment of genotype stability; this is accomplished by planning genotype experiments, where a number of genotypes is compared on randomised complete block designs, with three to five replicates....


How do we combine errors, in biology? The delta method

Published at May 25, 2019 ·  7 min read

In a recent post I have shown that we can build linear combinations of model parameters (see here ). For example, if we have two parameter estimates, say Q and W, with standard errors respectively equal to \(\sigma_Q\) and \(\sigma_W\), we can build a linear combination as follows: \[Z = AQ + BW + C\] where A, B and C are three coefficients. The standard error for this combination can be obtained as:...


Dealing with correlation in designed field experiments: part II

Published at May 10, 2019 ·  16 min read

With field experiments, studying the correlation between the observed traits may not be an easy task. Indeed, in these experiments, subjects are not independent, but they are grouped by treatment factors (e.g., genotypes or weed control methods) or by blocking factors (e.g., blocks, plots, main-plots). I have dealt with this problem in a previous post and I gave a solution based on traditional methods of data analyses. In a recent paper, Piepho (2018) proposed a more advanced solution based on mixed models....


Dealing with correlation in designed field experiments: part I

Published at April 30, 2019 ·  7 min read

Observations are grouped When we have recorded two traits in different subjects, we can be interested in describing their joint variability, by using the Pearson’s correlation coefficient. That’s ok, altough we have to respect some basic assumptions (e.g. linearity) that have been detailed elsewhere (see here). Problems may arise when we need to test the hypothesis that the correlation coefficient is equal to 0. In this case, we need to make sure that all the couples of observations are taken on independent subjects....


How do we combine errors? The linear case

Published at April 15, 2019 ·  7 min read

In our research work, we usually fit models to experimental data. Our aim is to estimate some biologically relevant parameters, together with their standard errors. Very often, these parameters are interesting in themselves, as they represent means, differences, rates or other important descriptors. In other cases, we use those estimates to derive further indices, by way of some appropriate calculations. For example, think that we have two parameter estimates, say Q and W, with standard errors respectively equal to \(\sigma_Q\) and \(\sigma_W\): it might be relevant to calculate the amount:...


Some everyday data tasks: a few hints with R

Published at March 27, 2019 ·  8 min read

We all work with data frames and it is important that we know how we can reshape them, as necessary to meet our needs. I think that there are, at least, four routine tasks that we need to be able to accomplish: subsetting sorting casting melting Obviously, there is a wide array of possibilities; I’ll just mention a few, which I regularly use. #Subsetting the data Subsetting means selecting the records (rows) or the variables (columns) which satisfy certain criteria....


Drowning in a glass of water: variance-covariance and correlation matrices

Published at February 19, 2019 ·  3 min read

One of the easiest tasks in R is to get correlations between each pair of variables in a dataset. As an example, let’s take the first four columns in the ‘mtcars’ dataset, that is available within R. Getting the variances-covariances and the correlations is straightforward. data(mtcars) matr <- mtcars[,1:4] #Covariances cov(matr) ## mpg cyl disp hp ## mpg 36.324103 -9.172379 -633.0972 -320.7321 ## cyl -9.172379 3.189516 199.6603 101.9315 ## disp -633....


Going back to the basics: the correlation coefficient

Published at February 7, 2019 ·  7 min read

A measure of joint variability In statistics, dependence or association is any statistical relationship, whether causal or not, between two random variables or bivariate data. It is often measured by the Pearson correlation coefficient: \[\rho _{X,Y} =\textrm{corr} (X,Y) = \frac {\textrm{cov}(X,Y) }{ \sigma_X \sigma_Y } = \frac{ \sum_{1 = 1}^n [(X - \mu_X)(Y - \mu_Y)] }{ \sigma_X \sigma_Y }\] Other measures of correlation can be thought of, such as the Spearman \(\rho\) rank correlation coefficient or Kendall \(\tau\) rank correlation coefficient....


My first experience with blogdown

Published at November 15, 2018 ·  1 min read

This is my first day at work with blogdown. I must admit it is pretty overwhelming at the beginning … I thought that it might be useful to write down a few notes, to summarise my steps ahead, during the learning process. I do not work with blogdown everyday and I tend to forget things quite easily. Therefore, these notes may help me recap how far I have come. And they might also help other beginners, to speed up their initial steps with such a powerful blogging platform....


Is R dangerous? Side effects of free software for biologists

Published at June 8, 2014 ·  3 min read

When I started my career in the biological field (it’s already 25 years ago), only the luckiest of us had access to very advanced statistical software. Licenses were very expensive and it was not easy to convince the boss that they were really necessary: “Why do you need to spend so much money to perform an ANOVA?”. Indeed, simple one-way or two-ways ANOVAs were quite easy to perform and one of the people in my group had already built the appropriate routines for several designs, by using the GW-BASIC language....