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

By David Sale

Virginia Commonwealth University

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.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group VCU Environmental Research Methods

Version 1.0 - published on 10 May 2021 doi:10.25334/0FFY-1047 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms



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. 


Cite this work


VCU Environmental Research Methods

VCU Environmental Research Methods group image

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