Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Dr. John R. Stevens


A community ecologist provided a motivating data set involving a certain animal species with two behavior groups, along with a pairwise genetic distance matrix among individuals. Many community ecologists have analyzed similar data sets with a method known as the Hopkins method, testing for an association between the subject-level covariate (behavior group) and the pairwise distance. This community ecologist wanted to know if they used the Hopkins method, would their results be meaningful? Their question inspired this thesis work, where a different data set was used for confidentiality reasons. Multiple methods (Hopkins method, ADONIS, ANOSIM, and Distance Regression) were used to analyze the distance matrix for association with a binary covariate of interest. To compare the performance of the Hopkins method with the performance of the remaining, more established methods, a simulation was run. The results of the simulation indicate that ADONIS, ANOSIM, and distance regression would all be preferable to the Hopkins method.