Analogue Methods in Palaeoecology: Using the analogue Package
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Palaeoecology is an important branch of ecology that uses the subfossil remains of organisms preserved in lake, ocean and bog sediments to inform on changes in ecosystems and the environment through time. The analogue package contains functions to perform modern analogue technique (MAT) transfer functions, which can be used to predict past changes in the environment, such as climate or lake-water pH from species data. A related technique is that of analogue matching, which is concerned with identifying modern sites that are floristically and faunistically similar to fossil samples. These techniques, and others, are increasingly being used to inform public policy on environmental pollution and conservation practices. These methods and other functionality in analogue are illustrated using the Surface Waters Acidification Project diatom:pH training set and diatom counts on samples of a sediment core from the Round Loch of Glenhead, Galloway, Scotland. The paper is aimed at palaeoecologists who are familiar with the techniques described but not with R.