Meagan Murdock

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2015


The goal of this project was to streamline and partially automate methods of data analysis and summary reporting for a natural resource, making it easier to relay important information about resource status to policy-makers and other stakeholders. My project utilizes coral reef fish data (species identification, abundance, and estimated size) collected in the United States Virgin Islands by the National Park Service, NOAA, University of Miami, and other partners. The process developed involves downloading and checking data from the NOAA National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Database and importing, storing, and manipulating it in Microsoft Access to create an analysis-ready dataset. Then, the statistical analysis software R is used to efficiently analyze the data and link it to existing graphing routines. The process was tested using datasets ranging from 2003 to 2013. The R code analysis step takes approximately 2 minutes to process 10 years of data for over 200 fish species and generate graphical summaries for each. The R code and process are documented and usable by other researchers. By making analyses more efficient and uniform, the time between data collection and development of data summary reports is minimized and important information can be rapidly conveyed to natural resource managers and relevant stakeholders.


Department: MBF

MPS Track: TME

Location: National Park Service, South Florida/ Caribbean Network

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