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SEAS: Student Experiments At Sea

Data analysis and interpretation: your turn!

It's your turn to compare your dataset to the measurements of deep-sea mussels, and think of reasons for any similarities or differences you see.

Data analysis: questions to consider

Is there a difference in the proportion of gill tissue to total body tissue in shallow-water (intertidal) mussels versus deep-sea vent mussels? Do you have evidence to support there being a difference?


It's always a good idea to make a graph of the data to help visualize patterns. Perhaps a bar graph? You might consider a simple t-Test comparison to test for significant differences between your data and deep-sea data.

Data interpretation: questions to consider

Do you expect to see a difference in the proportion of gill tissue to total body tissue between shallow-water and deep-sea vent mussels? Does your data support your hypothesis? If so, can you think of what might account for differences?


Think about the function of these gill tissues. Remember, vent mussels host symbiotic chemosynthetic bacteria, and these bacteria reside in the gill tissue. Deep-sea mussels also filter-feed although it is not completely understood to what extent they rely on either feeding strategy. Do you think shell length has any effect on the proportion of gill tissue to total body tissue? Shell length may be an indication of age, although this is not a linear relationship.

Be sure to review the questions at the end of the classroom-to-sea Laboratory procdure when you are processing your data and drawing your conclusions. These questions prompt you to think about your measurements, what error might be inherent in these measurements, and what other factors might account for differences you see between samples.

Next step: reporting

We look forward to seeing your analyses in your reports!