R and other new things to try

In the past couple weeks we here at the BLM CO State Office have finished up several species monitoring for the year including the Astragalus osterhoutii, Penstemon penlandii,  Eutrema penlandii, Physaria congesta, Physaria obcordata, and Penstemon grahamii.  Traveling to the Kremmling, CO area then to the mountains near Fairplay to monitor the little arctic mustard, and finally out to Meeker, CO and almost to the Utah-Colorado border to Rangely, CO.  With all of the travel we came back to the state office to input the many pages of monitoring data to start the analysis and make any changes needed for next year (adding transects or if we are lucky get to remove a few and still get the same amount of certainty in the change of the populations or we can continue with the same number of transects which is just as good).  Along with the simple functions that we utilize in Microsoft Excel to show the necessary analysis of the monitoring data we are going to try and learn to use R and then hope to apply it to some of our monitoring data as well as the data we collected in the Modified Whittaker Plots in the alpine to create species area curves.  We will see what the learning curve is for R, I do have a little knowledge of C++ so if any of the programming I learned for C++ can be applied to R that would be great.  I have a feeling I am going to be learning a whole new syntax of programming and the crossover from C++ to R might be minimal at best but I will find out.  Since we are not specifically trying to create new programs, and just trying to call existing programs and functions to analyze our data that the learning curve will be acceptable to utilize the program.  Along with this new challenge we are continuing with our sensitive species monitoring with Phacelia formosula and Eriogonum pelinophilum coming up soon and then implementing the new monitoring protocol for Corispermum navicula sometime later.  While we are up in North Park for the Phacelia sp. monitoring we will assess the Corispermum sp site and the current stage of the species to better determine when the monitoring should take place to ensure that the best representation of the population is monitored.  In between all of this we might also be helping out Vail Botanic Gardens in a few seed collections.  Fun Stuff to come here in Colorado!!


Nathan Redecker

Lakewood, CO

BLM Colorado State Office

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