About 75 years ago, Astronomers used the simple technique of correlation to discover the Universe was expanding. For nearby galaxies they measured a redshift and plotted that against the distance to the galaxy. Here is the data:

## The line through the data is a "best fit" linear relationship which shows that there is a linear relationship between the the velocity at which a galaxy moves away from us and its distance. This linear relatinship is consistent with a model of uniform expansion for the Universe. |

Returning to Salmon:

For the Bonneville Dam data:

- Is their a correlation between Chinook salmon counts and year (i.e. have the counts been steadily decreasing?
- Is there a correlation between various species decline?

- quasi-cyclical behavior with a period of 15--20 years between peaks and valleys (note there is not enough data to really say this)
- There seems to be a rapid decline since the last peak (1984) -->
could it mean that these Salmon counts are anomolously high
- Recent Salmon Levels are consistent with those in 1980, 1960
and 1940

Formally there is a very little correlation. The correlation coefficient, r, is 0.31. But look at the data closer to notice that its kind of odd.

There are 9 distinct occurences where the Steelhead Count is significantly above average (this corresponds to counts above 250,000). If we ignore those 9 points (years) out of the total of 57 years worth of data, the average Steelhead count is

The mean count for those 9 higher years is

Is the difference in these means significant?

- E1 = 32,000/7 = 4500
- E2 = 35,000/3 = 12000
- E2 > 2*E1
- so use (M1-M2)/E2 (306-143)/12 = 13 !!

One can therefore to conclude that something produces very high Steelhead Counts. Examining the data in time shows that the high Steelhead Counts occured in 1952--1953 and again in 1984-1989 and 1991-1992. High Steelhead count, however, does not mean high chinook count (nor does it correlate with anyother species)

For the whole data set, the weak correlation (r = 0.31) is shown below:

While a social scientist might argue that a correlation exists, you should be able to do better than that.

- The formal correlation is Y = 0.25*X + 76 but the scatter
around that correlation is 66,000 Steelhead. Since the average Steelhead
count is 143,000 then using Chinook as the tracer of the Steelhead
poulation only predicts Steelhead to an accuracy of 66,000/143,000 or
around 45% (pretty lousy)
- But look at the data and notice that the weak correlation is almost
entirely driven by the two points with the highest X-values (highest
Chinook counts). If we eliminate those two points, then r lowers
from 0.31 to 0.10 which is no correlation at all.
- Removing the 9 periods of high Steelhead Counts from the data shows no correlation at all. In fact, the average Steelhead counts is the same over a range of Chinook counts from 200--500 (thousand).

Okay, what about using just the chinook counts as a tracer of the entire salmon population. How well does that work? Here is the data:

Your eye sees a correlation and indeed r = 0.79 for this data set. Of course, some trend is expected since roughly 30--40% of the total Salmon Population is chinook; the question is, what is the dispersion in total salmon counts that results from using chinook as the tracer?

The formal fit is:

This means that chinook counts can be used to predict the total Salmon counts to an accuracy of 97,000. Since the Salmon count ranges from 500,000 to 1 million, that means an accuracy of 10-20%. This suggests that, if you are only interested in total Salmon, you can use chinook as a reliable tracer, provided that you don't require accuracy better than 20%.

The fit as applied to the data is shown here. In this case, r =0.79 and the fit is a good fit. There are no strongly abberant data points.

And so after this evolution we arrive at a crossroads, strongly driven by non-equilibrium growth, and we look for solutions about how to better manage the planet.

Much of the current dialogue in environmental studies or management needs to shift away from belief to a position of knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge requires gathering good data, analyzing it correctly, and then forming new questions on the basis of the data.

- Always, always ALWAYS plot your
data.

- Never, never NEVER put data through
some blackbox reduction routine without examining the data themselves.

- The average of some distribution is not very meaningful unless
you also know the dispersion. Always calculate the dispersion.

- Always exam correlation data for points that could be rejected.
Never reject them just because they are "too far from the line" but rather
examine if poor measurement or some other error is responsible for
these peculiar data values.

- Always present and plot data without any compression in the axis
so that you don't distort the data by fostering an unfair visual
impression.

- Always compute the level of significance when comparing two
distributions. Just because they might have different mean values
doesn't necessarily mean they are significantly different.

- Always know your measuring errors.

- Always require someone to back up their "belief statments"
with data

- Always calculate the dispersion in any correlative analysis and
always look to see if the residuals correlate with another parameter

- Always remember that unambiguous data resolves conflict.

GOOD LUCK - Add your questions or comments about this particular assignment