Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Dale Zimmerman, professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, has added yet another accomplishment to his substantial list of publications, a new book titled Spatial Linear Models for Environmental Data.  

The book, which was published in mid-April by Routledge and CRC Press, is the product of Zimmerman's 25 years of lectures and research.  

“The book presents statistical methods for modeling spatial data via linear models, also known as spatial regression methods,” says Zimmerman, who has been a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 1986. “The book grew from lectures and other materials I had put together over the years for a course called Environmental and Spatial Statistics.” 

Zimmerman co-authored the book with scientist and statistician Jay Ver Hoef. Ver Hoef works with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"I could not have written this book without Jay's help,” Zimmerman says. “It was a pleasure to get to work together with him.” 

The book aims to modify classical statistical analysis methods for spatial data to overcome the limits of those methods for spatial data.  By providing appropriate real-world examples and computer code that can be mimicked by practitioners, Zimmerman hopes to help others draw accurate conclusions from their spatial data. 

“Spatial data have the property that observations taken at sites close together in space generally are not independent, but rather are autocorrelated, with the strength of the autocorrelation often decaying as distance between sites increases,” Zimmerman explains. “Classical statistical methods for data analysis are not designed to deal with this, so this book presents a guide on how to modify them.” 

As a native Iowan, Zimmerman says he is glad to be living and researching in his home state, especially in Iowa City. He is especially grateful for the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, which he says has been a major help in his research process. 

“This department has afforded me the opportunity to reach my career goals in both teaching and research,” Zimmerman says. 

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year. 

By Charlotte Brookins