Learning Objectives
Following this assignment students should be able to:
 use, modify, and write custom functions
 use the output of one function as the input of another
 understand and use the basic relational operators
 use an
if
statement to evaluate conditionals
Reading

Topics
 Functions
 Conditionals

Readings
Lecture Notes
Exercises
Writing Functions (5 pts)
1. Copy the following function (which converts weights in pounds to weights in grams) into your assignment and replace the
________
with the variable names for the input and output.convert_pounds_to_grams < function(________) { grams = 453.6 * pounds return(________) }
Use the function to calculate how many grams there are in 3.75 pounds.
2. Copy the following function (which converts temperatures in Fahrenheit to temperatures in Celsius) into your assignment and replace the
________
with the needed commands and variable names so that the function returns the calculated value for Celsius.convert_fahrenheit_to_celsius < ________(________) { celsius = (fahrenheit  32) * 5 / 9 ________(________) }
Use the function to calculate the temperature in Celsius if the temperature in Fahrenheit is 80°F.
3. Write a function named
double
that takes a number as input and outputs that number multiplied by 2. Run it with an input of 512.4. Write a function named
Expected outputs for Writing Functions: 1prediction
that takes three arguments,x
,a
, andb
, and returnsy
usingy = a + b * x
(like a prediction from a simple linear model). Run it withx
= 12,a
= 6, andb
= 0.8.Use and Modify (10 pts)
The length of an organism is typically strongly correlated with its body mass. This is useful because it allows us to estimate the mass of an organism even if we only know its length. This relationship generally takes the form:
mass = a * length^b
Where the parameters
a
andb
vary among groups. This allometric approach is regularly used to estimate the mass of dinosaurs since we cannot weigh something that is only preserved as bones.The following function estimates the mass of an organism in kg based on its length in meters for a particular set of parameter values, those for Theropoda (where
a
has been estimated as0.73
andb
has been estimated as3.63
; Seebacher 2001).get_mass_from_length_theropoda < function(length){ mass < 0.73 * length ^ 3.63 return(mass) }
 Use this function to print out the mass of a Theropoda that is 16 m long based on its reassembled skeleton.
 Create a new version of this function called
get_mass_from_length()
that takeslength
,a
andb
as arguments and uses the following code to estimate the massmass < a * length ^ b
. Use this function to estimate the mass of a Sauropoda (a = 214.44
,b = 1.46
) that is 26 m long.
Combining Functions (10 pts)
This is a follow up to Default Argument.
Measuring things using the metric system is the standard approach for scientists, but when communicating your results more broadly it may be useful to use different units (at least in some countries). Write a function called
Expected outputs for Combining Functions: 1convert_kg_to_pounds
that converts kilograms into pounds (pounds = 2.205 * kg
). Use that function and yourget_mass_from_length()
function from Default Arguments to estimate the weight, in pounds, of a 12 m long Stegosaurus witha = 10.95
andb = 2.64
(The estimateda
andb
values for Stegosauria from Seebacher 2001).Choice Operators (10 pts)
Create the following variables.
w < 10.2 x < 1.3 y < 2.8 z < 17.5 colors < c("red", "blue", "green") masses < c(45.2, 36.1, 27.8, 81.6, 42.4) dna1 < "attattaggaccaca" dna2 < "attattaggaacaca"
Use them to print whether or not the following statements are
TRUE
orFALSE
.w
is greater than 10"green"
is incolors
x
is greater thany
 Each value in
masses
is greater than 40.  2 *
x
+ 0.2 is equal toy
dna1
is the same asdna2
dna1
is not the same asdna2
w
is greater thanx
, ory
is greater thanz
x
timesw
is between 13.2 and 13.5 Each mass in
masses
is between 30 and 50.
Simple If Statement (10 pts)
To determine if a file named
thesis_data.csv
exists in your working directory you can use the code to get a list of available files and directories:list.files()
 Use the
%in%
operator to write a conditional statement that checks to see ifthesis_data.csv
is in this list.  Write an
if
statement that loads the file usingread.csv()
only if the file exists.  Add an
else
clause that prints “OMG MY THESIS DATA IS MISSING. NOOOO!!!!” if the file doesn’t exist.  Make sure your actual thesis data is backed up.
 Use the
Size Estimates by Name (20 pts)
This is a follow up to Use and Modify.
To make it even easier to work with your dinosaur size estimation functions you decide to create a function that lets you specify which dinosaur group you need to estimate the size of by name and then have the function automatically choose the right parameters.
Remember the general form of the equation is:
mass < a * length ^ b
Create a new function
get_mass_from_length_by_name()
that takes two arguments, thelength
and the name of the dinosaur group. Inside this function useif
/else if
/else
statements to check to see if the name is one of the following values and if so use the associateda
andb
values to estimate the species mass using these equations: Stegosauria:
mass = 10.95 * length ^ 2.64
(Seebacher 2001)  Theropoda:
mass = 0.73 * length ^ 3.63
(Seebacher 2001)  Sauropoda:
mass = 214.44 * length ^ 1.46
(Seebacher 2001)
If the name is not any of these values the function should return
NA
.Run the function for:
 A Stegosauria that is 10 meters long.
 A Theropoda that is 8 meters long.
 A Sauropoda that is 12 meters long.
 A Ankylosauria that is 13 meters long.
Challenge (optional): If the name is not one of values that have
a
andb
values print out a message that it doesn’t know how to convert that group that includes that groups name in a message like “No known estimation for Ankylosauria”. (the functionpaste()
will be helpful here). Doing this successfully will modify your answer to (4), which is fine.Challenge (optional): Change your function so that it uses two different values of
a
andb
for Stegosauria. When Stegosauria is greater than 8 meters long use the equation above. When it is less than 8 meters long usea
=8.5
andb
=2.8
. Run the function for a Stegosauria that is 6 meters long.Challenge (optional): Rewrite your function so that instead of calculating mass directly it sets the values of
Expected outputs for Size Estimates by Name: 1a
andb
to the values for the species (or toNA
if the species doesn’t have an equation) and then calls another function to do the basicmass
=a
*length
^b
calculation. Stegosauria:
DNA or RNA (15 pts)
Write a function that determines if a sequence of base pairs is DNA, RNA, or if it is not possible to tell given the sequence provided. RNA has the base Uracil (
"u"
) instead of the base Thymine ("t"
), so sequences with u’s are RNA, sequences with t’s are DNA, and sequences with neither are unknown.You can check if a string contains a character (or a longer substring) in R using
grepl(substring, string)
, sogrepl("u", sequence)
will check if the string in thesequence
variable has the baseu
.Name the function
dna_or_rna()
and have it takesequence
as an argument. Have the function return one of three outputs:"DNA"
,"RNA"
, or"UNKNOWN"
. Call the function on each of the following sequences.seq1 < "ttgaatgccttacaactgatcattacacaggcggcatgaagcaaaaatatactgtgaaccaatgcaggcg" seq2 < "gauuauuccccacaaagggagugggauuaggagcugcaucauuuacaagagcagaauguuucaaaugcau" seq3 < "gaaagcaagaaaaggcaggcgaggaagggaagaagggggggaaacc"
Challenge (optional): Figure out how to make your function work with both upper and lower case letters, or even strings with mixed capitalization.
Expected outputs for DNA or RNA: 1Climate Space Rewrite (20 pts)
This is a follow up to Climate Space.
Producing a plot of occurrences on the available climate space for each of the three species required a lot of repetition of very similar code. Whenever this happens, it is usually an indication that a function could be used instead. Such functions reduce the repetition in producing the three species plots, which enables you to save time and prevent errors by not having to rewrite the same code multiple times.

Create a function to download occurrence data and extract the corresponding climate data, which should return a dataset of all the bioclim variables for a single species. Because the latitude and longitude columns for each occurrence dataset have different names you can select and set them to the same name using the column index, instead of the column name, to get only those columns (e.g.,
select(longitude = 2, latitude = 3
). 
Create a second function for plotting the occurrences for a single species onto the available climate space, then use this function to generate separate plots for each of the three tree species.
