tidypaleo: Visualizing Paleoenvironmental Archives Using ggplot2

Dewey W. Dunnington, Nell Libera, Joshua Kurek, Ian S. Spooner, Graham A. Gagnon

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This paper presents the tidypaleo package for R, which enables high-quality reproducible visualizations of time-stratigraphic multivariate data that is common to several disciplines of the natural sciences. Rather than introduce new plotting functions, the tidypaleo package defines several orthogonal components of the ggplot2 package that, when combined, enable most types of stratigraphic diagrams to be created. We do so by conceptualizing multi-parameter data as a series of measurements (rows) with attributes (columns), enabling the use of the ggplot2 facet mechanism to display multi-parameter data. The orthogonal components include (1) scales that represent relative abundance and concentration values, (2) geometries that are commonly used in paleoenvironmental diagrams created elsewhere, (3) facets that correctly assign scales and sizes to panels representing multiple parameters, and (4) theme elements that enable tidypaleo to create elegant graphics. Collectively, this approach demonstrates the efficacy of a minimal ggplot2 wrapper to create domain-specific plots.

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