Today I received confirmation that the delayed fifth volume in the Developments in Palaeoenvironmental Research series has been published. The book is titled Data Handling and Numerical methods, though it covers more of the latter and, IMHO, is far more interesting than the dry title would suggest (who gets excited by Data Handling? Well, one or two people perhaps ;-)
A full table of contents can be found on the SpringerLink website, though in their infinite wisdom, this material is not available as HTML but as embedded previews of the pages, which you can download as PDFs (as you can each chapter but for the proper fee). I authored or co-authored three of the 21 chapters
- Chapter 9 Statistical Learning in Palaeolimnology (with John Birks)
- Chapter 15 Analogue Methods in Palaeolimnology
- Chapter 19 Human Impacts: Applications of Numerical Methods to Evaluate Surface-Water Acidification and Eutrophication (with Roland Hall)
All three chapters relied heavily upon R; the first two being conducted entirely in R. Chapter 19 was written such a long time ago now that it wasn’t all done in R (WA-PLS, Maximum Likelihood transfer functions methods weren’t then available in R, nor were some of the ordination based methods I used). However, I’m confident the entire thing (at least the acidification parts) could be done using R now.
I have scripts for all the analyses performed using R. Some need a little work before I post them (mainly for Chapter 9) but I aim to maintain up-to-date scripts on my blog. Details soon.
Although writing these chapters took on a life of their own and used up far more time than they should have done, I am genuinely pleased with the results. I certainly learned a huge amount more about the statistics that underlay the techniques that palaeolimnologists and palaeoecologists use day in day out.
To pre-empt requests for PDFs of the chapters; I don’t have any so don’t ask. I’m not sure what arrangements were made originally with the publisher in that regard. I haven’t even seen the final book yet either; still waiting on my copy to pop through the letter box. If you want a copy and didn’t get in a pre-order at the discount rate, I suspect the best bet would be to pick on up later this summer at the International Paleolimnology Symposium in Glasgow, where I’m sure there will be a conference discount. If I hear of any offers in the meantime I’ll post something here.
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By Gavin Simpson
23 April 2012