Community Ecology

Analytical Methods Using R and Excel

by: Mark Gardener

Available now from Pelagic Publishing.

Interactions between species are of fundamental importance to all living systems and the framework we have for studying these interactions is community ecology.Comm-Ecol-Cover This is important to our understanding of the planet’s biological diversity and how species interactions relate to the functioning of ecosystems at all scales. Species do not live in isolation and the study of community ecology is of practical application in a wide range of conservation issues.

The study of ecological community data involves many methods of analysis. In this book you will learn many of the mainstays of community analysis including: diversity, similarity and cluster analysis, ordination and multivariate analyses. This book is for undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers seeking a step-by-step methodology for analysing plant and animal communities using R and Excel.


  • Chapter summaries
  • End-of-chapter exercises
  • Have a Go examples/exercises
  • Custom R commands
  • Custom Excel worksheets

Key Topics:

  • Diversity (richness, indices, beta diversity, rank-abundance)
  • Cluster analysis (hierarchical and partitioning)
  • Association analysis (Chi square)
  • Ordination (e.g. PCA, CCA, NMDS)

See also my Writer’s Bloc page for notes about various topics associated with the book. These were written as the book progressed, R scripts and Excel spreadsheets that are mentioned will also be in the support material.


Look in the News section for details about important changes and tweaks to custom commands and so on. I continue to work on support material and will update things from time to time. This may include new custom commands (or changes to old ones) as well as support notes, additional data and exercises.

More information

See the publications page for more information and support material.