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Exploring global reef health and human population using correlation and simple linear regression

Author(s): David Sale

Virginia Commonwealth University

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In this lesson, students will explore the relationship between reef cover and human disturbance. Students will manipulate a large dataset and perform normality tests, data transformations, correlations, and a simple linear regression in R Studio.


The purpose of this lesson is to explore the relationship between reef cover and human disturbance. Students will explore, manipulate, and test data on hard coral cover and human populations using a large, global dataset. Students will be given the opportunity to use R, an open-access statistical software, and consider how their analysis can inform worldwide conservation and reef restoration efforts. 

There are several resources that will help students get more information on the required background and complete the lesson:

  1. Reef Cover and Human Population_Lesson Pitch.pptx - This file provides a narrative overview of the lesson background, data, and methods. 
  2. Bruno and Valdivia - 2016.pdf - This is the reference paper for the resource. It is used as the foundation for the biological and quantitative background for this lesson. 
  3. Student Version [or] Instructor Version_Reef Cover and Human Population.pdf - These documents provide the relevant biological and quantitative background for the lesson. At the end of these documents, students are asked to reflect on several questions that will evaluate their understanding of the biological and quantitative lessons provided in this resource.
  4. World+human.csv - This file provides the data needed to run the analysis. 

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