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Analysis Of A Monarch Butterfly Research Report

1164 words - 5 pages

Analysis of a Monarch Butterfly Research Report
David Bell
HCS438
July 5, 2010
Keith Harris PhD
Analysis of a Monarch Butterfly Research Report
Statistics are a critical part of performing research studies. Researchers make use of a variety of statistical analyses to analyze data and make meaningful conclusions. Examining an example of a research study is an effective way to understand how such analyses are used in the research process. The following paper is an analysis of a study conducted to analyze the correlation between the virulence of parasites in monarch butterflies and the host plant that monarch caterpillars feed on.

Research and Statistical Procedures
Researchers ...view middle of the document...

, 2008). The response variable in the study is virulence of the parasites. The researchers measured virulence by the parasites effect on the adult monarchs’ lifespan, which indicates the severity of parasitic infection. Researchers maintained consistency in the effect of the host plant on parasites by cloning parasites to eliminate genetic influence on the variance in virulence within each group. Researchers further reduced genetic influence by randomly capturing butterflies from several locations throughout the eastern United States and crossbreeding them to achieve a more homogenous genetic makeup between sample populations (de Roode, et al., 2008).
The authors of the study do not explicitly state the null and alternative hypotheses tested in the experiment. However, the null and alternative hypotheses can be extrapolated from the stated purpose and reported results of the experiment. The null hypothesis of the experiment is parasite virulence among butterflies raised on the host plant Asclepias incarnata is equal to parasite virulence on butterflies raised on the host plant Asclepias curassavica. The directional alternate hypothesis is parasite virulence in butterflies raised on the host plant Asclepias curassavica is less than parasite virulence in butterflies raised on the host plant Asclepias incarnata.
The researchers used Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to test the null hypothesis in the experiment. Using ANOVA allows researchers to test the equality of multiple populations by examining the variance among samples taken from each population (Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2009). Researchers used ANOVA in two stages of the monarch study. First, experimenters used ANOVA to check the variance in groups segregated by potential confounding variables such as sex and larvae development time. This analysis allowed researchers to discount any effects that these confounds may have introduced into the study. Showing that these variables had no statistical significance allowed researchers to eliminate them from the final analysis and create a simpler model that was easier to test (de Roode, et al., 2008). Second, researchers used ANOVA to analyze the lifespan of butterflies according to host plant type and parasite genome.
Analysis of Conclusions
The researchers in the monarch study concluded that butterflies raised on the more toxic Asclepias curassavica experienced lower parasite virulence than those raised on Asclepias incarnata. The results of the study show a marked difference in the longevity of monarchs in the inoculated groups. Inoculated monarch caterpillars fed the more toxic Asclepias curassavica had longer life spans than those fed Asclepias incarnata. Analysis also showed that the type of parasite had no statistical significance in longevity....

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