Experimental Design and Analysis of Multivariate Data

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General information

This course will be considered as a Transferable Skills course  (Research & Valorisation) for MARES Doctoral students. The course is lectured in a computer room, using a problem solving approach and exploiting teaching and learning case studies. The teaching case studies shall be used to present the baseline theoretical concepts as well as the use of the software (PRIMER v6 with the add-on PERMANOVA+). The learning case studies use real datasets and should allow the participants to apply the theoretical concepts as well as to acquire autonomy in the choice and workflow of the methods.

Course Content

  • Introduction. Samples, variables and measurement scales.
  • Resemblance. Resemblance functions for the analysis of variables – association and correlation coefficients – and samples – similarity and distance functions. Appropriateness of the resemblance functions to the data.
  • Clustering. Principle, advantages and disadvantages. The panoply of methods. Agglomerative hierarchical clustering: single, complete, average and flexible algorithms Construction and interpretation of dendrograms.
  • Ordination. Principle, advantages and disadvantages. The panoply of methods. Principle coordinate and component analysis (PCO and PCA), correspondence analysis (CA) and non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS). Biplots and interpretation of factorial axes.
  • Multivariate hypothesis testing. Fixed and casual factors, orthogonal and hierarchical designs. Implications on the estimation of the variance components. The methods analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) and permutation analysis of variance (PERMANOVA).

Keywords: Experimental design, multivariate analysis, clustering, ordination, hypothesis testing

Contact Person: Victor Quintino (victor.quintino@ua.pt)


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Venue: University of Aveiro
Aveiro, Portugal

Department of Biology
Campus Universitário, 3810-193 Aveiro



All course participants must cover their travel and stay costs. The course tuition is free for students enrolled in doctoral programmes offered by the University of Aveiro (MARES-Marine Ecosystems Health and Conservation, ProMarPrograma Doutoral em Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente, BAC-Programa Doutoral em Biologia das Alterações Climáticas and others).

Students enrolled in doctoral programmes offered by other universities that wish to receive a diploma and credit the course in their programme will pay a fee of 650 €. This includes all course materials, and appropriate access to the computer lab and all relevant software during the course, but not lunches, other meals, accommodation or any costs of  purchasing software.

Application Procedure:

Students have to submit their application to Prof. Victor Quintino by email (victor.quintino@ua.pt), including a short CV and motivation letter and identifying the doctoral programme in which they are enrolled or other situation as in "Cost Description". Proof of Doctoral enrolment must be supplied.

Enrolment Deadline: Before January 2015


Academic level: PhD


The assessment includes individual work developed along the course period. Participants may be given data to analyze or use their own data at this stage.

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