Potential Datasets For Projects

We want practice with real-world data sets that are the appropriate to build our skills. I strongly believe the best data sets are one you care about / are invested in. But not all of you have those. Here are some data sets for you if you don’t have any data sets that you’re invested in.

These examples are all stolen from Whitlock and Schluter (2020) .

Zika and head size

Zika virus can be spread by mosquitos, sexual contact or from mom to fetus. In 2015 there was an outbreak in Brazil that spread to other countries in the Americas. Small head size (microcephaly) associated with abnormal brain development was frequently reported in newborn babies of infected mothers. Here are data for head measurements of fetuses in pregnant women infected with Zika, taken from ultrasounds between 33 and 36 weeks. A head size between 80 and 94 mm is considered normal for uninfected mothers at this age. Data, study.

Microcephaly image from [New England Journal of Medicine](https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmra1602113). Their legend: Infants with Moderate or Severe Microcephaly Associated with Maternal Zika Virus Infection, as Compared with a Typical Newborn.

Figure 9.6: Microcephaly image from New England Journal of Medicine. Their legend: Infants with Moderate or Severe Microcephaly Associated with Maternal Zika Virus Infection, as Compared with a Typical Newborn.

Salmon size

After approximately three years as babies salmon become mature and are ready for the ocean. Hendry et al, measured the mass and length of female salmon who have been in the ocean for two or three years. The data are here. data, paper.

Chip off the old block

There are many hypotheses for the evolution of sexual selection. One such hypothesis is the sexy son theory - a somewhat circular (but not illegitimate) argument that females gain an evolutionary advantage by mating with attractive males because those males will give rise to attractive sons that will have success with other females. This theory requires a association between dad and son sexual attractiveness. Brooks measured the attractiveness of father-son pairs of male guppies (by evaluating female’s preference for them). data, paper.

Life at high altitude

Living at high altitude represents some physiological challenges of living with a limited oxygen supply. Human populations in the Andes, Ethiopia, and Tibet have faced these challenges, and adapted. One potential mechanism of this adaptation is to raise the hemoglobin content of blood to get more oxygen. Beall et al measured the hemoglobin content of people from these three populations as well as a control of males living at sea level in America. data, paper.

A mountain in Tibet from the [New York Times](https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/books/review/Becker-t.html)

Figure 9.7: A mountain in Tibet from the New York Times

Wild vs Hatchery fishes

Rainbow trout are both found in lakes naturally and raised in hatcheries and stocked for fishing. Could these two type of fish have different abilities to survive? Miller et al marked 4000 and wild fish fry (babies) and 4000 from a hatchery, released all into a stream and counted survivors.data, paper.

Famine and schizophrenia

Can environmental factors affect the incidence of schizophrenia? A study compared the rates of schizophrenia in children born in eastern china in 1960 – the time of a sever famine in the region – to children born four ears years earlier in the same region. data paper.

Hearing color

Some people experience one of their senses through another. For example, you might hear the name “Bob” and see grey. Saenz and Koch were interested to see how this type of perception impacted the ability to complete complex multi-sensory tasks. So they compared people with and without this unique type of sensory perception (known as synesthetes) to a group of people without such abilities, on a test involving rhythmic temporal patterns similar to Morse code. data, paper.

Synestheses mix modes of perceptions

Figure 9.8: Synestheses mix modes of perceptions

Risk for conviction

The Cambridge Study in Development followed 395 boys from North London for 20 years (starting at age 8 or 9) to investigate links between criminal behavior (quantified as either the number of convictions or whether or not a subject was ever convicted) as it relates to socioeconomic factors like income, and whether the conception was wanted or unwanted. data, paper.

Eat leas, live longer?

For some reason, restricting food intake often increases lifespan.To see if this was the case, Mattison et al fed 17 rhesus monkeys (7 females, 10 males) a reduced diet with 30% of the normal nutrition, and 17 other rhesus monkeys (8 females, 9 males) a normal nutritious diet. data, paper.

Fruit and photosynthesis

To investigate if previous reproductive efforts impact subsequent growth and photosynthesis, Wheelright and Logan looked at the previous number of fruits and the photosynthetic activity of nine female Ocotea tenera trees - a neotropical species. data, paper.

Image of  *Ocotea tenera* from wikimedia commons

Figure 9.9: Image of Ocotea tenera from wikimedia commons

A gene for monogamy?

The gene for the vasopressin receptor V1a is expressed at higher levels in the forebrain of monogamous than promiscuous vole species. To see if expression of this gene influenced monogamy, Lim et al experimentally enhanced V1a expression in the forebrain of 11 males of the meadow vole - a solitary promiscuous species, and compared the percentage of time these and control males spent huddling with a female placed with him (ass a measure of monogamy). data, paper.

Image of cuddling voles from  [Newsweek](https://www.newsweek.com/fall-love-brain-circuits-involved-prairie-voles-618111)

Figure 9.10: Image of cuddling voles from Newsweek

Running with a lighter load

Male spiders in the genus Tidarren are tiny and weigh about 1 percent as much as females. Just before sexual maturity, males voluntarily amputate one of their two organs just before sexual maturity. Could this maybe allow them to move faster? data, paper.

Image of Tidarren from  [Ramos et al.](https://www.pnas.org/content/101/14/4883) Their legend *A male T. sisyphoides before (A) and after (B) removing a pedipalp. Note the pedipalps overlap in the two-pedipalp condition (A), whereas the one pedipalp is carried in a central position after pedipalp removal (B). (The scale bars represent 1 mm.)*

Figure 9.11: Image of Tidarren from Ramos et al. Their legend A male T. sisyphoides before (A) and after (B) removing a pedipalp. Note the pedipalps overlap in the two-pedipalp condition (A), whereas the one pedipalp is carried in a central position after pedipalp removal (B). (The scale bars represent 1 mm.)

Protected fish

The marine threespine stickleback is a small coastal fish named for its defensive armor. It has three shrp spines on its back, two pelvic spines under its belly and a series of lateral bony plates down its side.The armor seems to reduce mortality from predatory fish and diving birds. In lakes and stream (as compared to the ocean) there are fewer predators, and fish have reduced armor. Researchers hypothesized this difference may mediated by a gene called ectodysin. They crossed marine (M) and freshwater (m) fish to make F1 Mm heterozygotes and crossed these to one another two make individuals who have 0 (mm), 1 (Mm), or 2 (MM) copies of the marine allele at the ectodysin locus. data, paper.

Image of benthic and marine sticklebacks (from [oceanbites](https://oceanbites.org/little-fish-new-pond-watching-stickleback-evolution-in-real-time/)

Figure 9.12: Image of benthic and marine sticklebacks (from oceanbites


Whitlock, Michael C, and Dolph Schluter. 2020. The Analysis of Biological Data. Third Edition.