Seventh Post – October 23rd

This week, I was able to attend the meeting held on Wednesday, during which I was able to discuss with the Professor and other students regarding both my dataset plans and general project plans, as well as some discussion regarding the mid-semester report, which we should submit soon. Initially, I had a handful of datasets bookmarked on my desktop, mostly pertaining to climate change and/or marine science, and my initial goal was to utilize one revolving around sea level rise in the Northeastern United States, however I soon encountered an issue when downloading some of the files, namely that most of them contained only metadata, and not the raw data itself.  This turned out to be the case for the majority of datasets on sea level rise that I had, so as a result, I had to shift topics slightly; instead of focusing on climate change, I instead decided to utilize one of the databases I found on fisheries reports from the Northeast United States. This wasn’t an issue, since fisheries science is another topic that I am fascinated in, and it’s one that I find it just as interesting as climate change.

I actually had to email one of the researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA, since I was initially having difficulties with obtaining the data; fortunately the researcher I contacted responded quite quickly, and he was able to provide some assistance in accessing the raw data. The database actually consists of four individual CSV files: one serving as a reference for the name/taxonomy of each species, one documenting physiology/habitat data for prey species, one documenting physiology/habitat data for predator species, and one documenting length/sex data for prey species; all the data was obtained from various fisheries surveys in the Northwest Atlantic (off the coast of the Northeast United States). Each of the datasets is quite large; the datasets on Prey Data and Predator Data were actually too large to open in Excel or Google Sheets (I am able to view them using a text editor, but that will not be very sufficient for actual analysis), so as a result, I will likely end up using the Prey Length dataset for my analyses, since it still offers a huge variety of data to work with, including the year/cruise of sample, species ID, the length of the specimen, the sex of the specimen, etc. My current goal is to work on the mid-semester report and finish it by the next class, and begin evaluating what types of questions I want to investigate using my datasets.

Sixth Post – October 16th

During the most recent week, there was no zoom meeting held, so I did not have any chance to directly discuss my project status with the professor or the class. However, a video lecture was uploaded by the Professor discussing some statistical techniques, which I watched, and I was also able to watch the lecture recording from last week (Oct. 7th), since I wasn’t able to attend that meeting at the time. At this point, I have a handful of different datasets bookmarked and have been contemplating which one to finally go with, though I still haven’t made any final decision yet. In the time between now and the next meeting, I am hoping to narrow down the choices as much as possible and ideally decide on one specific dataset by the end of the next meeting. Additionally, I’m beginning to prepare for the mid-semester writing assignment, which I assume will be assigned at some point in the coming weeks, since this previous week was the seventh week of classes and therefore about the mid-semester point.

Fifth Post – October 10th *retroactive*

**This is my post for the week of October 4th – 10th; I meant to post this on October 10th but did not get the chance to**

For our fifth full week of classes, I unfortunately was not able to accomplish as much as I’d hoped. I was not able to make it to the Zoom meeting on October 07th, and unfortunately the recording is not yet available on the Cloud, so I was not able to see what content or info I may have missed; I am currently hoping to be able to view it and catch-up as soon as it is uploaded. Fortunately, I was able to locate a handful of datasets online, including several on different metrics related to climate change (sea level rise, glacial melt, temperature increase, etc), and I am planning on sifting through them to decide which one would be best to use for my project. I am currently aiming to attend the next upcoming lecture on Wednesday, October 14th, to further discuss the different datasets I’ve located and begin the process of selecting one, as well as to get in touch with the Professor on the difficulties I’ve had with viewing last week’s lecture recording.

Fourth Post – October 1st

During our fourth week of class, I was unfortunately very preoccupied with work from some other classes (as I had an exam last week and another one next week), so I have not yet completed the goal I set last week of locating a dataset on sea level rise data. I made a plan last week to either locate a relevant dataset online, or get in contact with a researcher or professor from one of the local research institutions (SMAST, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, etc), and while I have not yet completed that goal, I am hoping to do so by mid-next week. Despite this minor setback, I was able to attend the class session on Wednesday, during which we discussed some applications of the z-score in analyzing the spread, skewness, and “peak”-ness of given data, as well as how to evaluate such metrics using RStudio.

Third Post – September 23rd

For our third week of classes, I attended the zoom discussion/lecture on Wednesday, Sept 23rd, where we described and discussed the different ideas we had for our data sets, and also went over some information on basic analysis of data (identifying the mean/median, variation between the two, different measurements of spread, etc). For my data set, I settled on some topic related to climate change, likely measurements on sea level rise; during the meeting, we discussed different ways of finding some data related to this cause, with some classmates recommending different websites and Professor Davis planning to contact some researchers at UMassD’s SMAST. During the time since the class last week, I began looking at the textbook and skimmed through some sections of the first couple chapters, however the PDF of notes last week was not uploaded, so I have not yet reviewed it. Over the next week, I am planning on looking through more datasets related to sea level rise and potentially getting in contact with some researchers from SMAST or one of the research institutions in Woods Hole (e.g. WHOI, NOAA, etc), and I am also planning to read more in the textbook and review the PDF’s for this week and/or last week, once they are made available.

Second Post – September 17th

For our second week of classes, I unfortunately was not able to make it to the zoom meeting on Wednesday, Sept 16, so I instead watched the recording of the lecture earlier today (Sept 17). Over the past week, I accomplished the three tasks that I laid out (refreshing myself with RStudio, reviewing the PDF of last week’s notes, and trying to narrow down the topic I would use for a data set), on some level. The first two were completed relatively quickly, since I was able to familiarize myself with some of the basics of RStudio without much trouble, and was also able to follow along the notes without much difficulty. The third task took a bit more time, and I still have not completely narrowed down the topic I would choose; I’m currently leaning towards choosing a data set related to rising marine temperatures (either globally or regionally; not sure which one yet), or changes in fishery stocks in New England. My tasks for the next week are to (1) make a final decision regarding what topic to use for my data set, or at least come close to a final decision, (2)  begin to read through at least some of the textbook, just as a resource for when I begin to actually use RStudio for the project, and (3) review the PDF for this week’s notes that Professor Davis said he would send out. I am once again hoping to have all these tasks completed in some capacity by the next class, on September 23.

First Post – Sept 11th *retroactive*

**This is my post following the first full week of classes, which I meant to post at the end of the week on Friday, September 11th, but completely forgot to**

After the zoom meeting on Wednesday Sept 09, I set up a rough schedule for what the next week would look like in terms of workload. I already had RStudio downloaded on my laptop and my desktop PC, and also had the textbook available on both as well, however since it has been quite a long time since I last used RStudio (the last time was the end of the first semester of last year, around December 2019), so I’m planning to spend a short bit of time familiarizing myself with the program, just to refresh my memory a bit. I’ve also begun to think about ideas for what data set I would want to analyze; my initial thoughts are leaning towards something related to either climate change, ecology, and/or marine-related, with some more specific topic ideas being sea level measurements or fishery stocks or ocean acidification. Finally, I am also planning to review some of the notes from the previous zoom meeting; I was a bit late at the beginning of the meeting, so Professor Davis said he would construct a PDF listing some of the information we went over in class, and he would email it out within the next couple days. My plan is to spend the next week refreshing my memory with RStudio, reviewing the PDF from the previous meeting, and trying to narrow down the topic for my data set, with the goal of having all of those complete by the next class meeting on Sept 16.