Pedicularis groenlandica

Wetlands and landscapes

Data science, water, isotopes, and ecosystems

A brief visualization of R's distribution functions, focusing on the normal distribution

The intent of this post is to provide a visual intuition of the various distribution functions in R, using the normal distribution as an example.

Jason Mercer

7 minutes read

When I first started playing with the distribution functions in R I would always get confused as to what the different name combinations meant. For example, the differences between rnorm(), dnorm(), dt(), rbinom() were all pretty mysterious to me. Now I understand these names are composed of two parts:

Jason Mercer

49 minutes read

Synopsis: Below are a number of examples comparing different ways to use base R, the tidyverse, and data.table. These examples are meant to provide something of a Rosetta Stone (an incomplete comparison of the dialects, but good enough to start the deciphering process) for comparing some common tasks in R using the different dialects. The examples start fairly simply and get progressively harder. I provide some additional information along the way, in case folks are new to R or programming more…

Vectorize in R

Letting the Vectorize function do the heavy-lifting when it comes to applying complicated control flows.

Jason Mercer

8 minutes read

One of the cool things about R is that it is a vectorized language. This means that you can apply a vector (i.e., a series of values) to functions like sqrt and log without the need to write a for loop. While I was naive to how useful this was when learning R, in retrospect, I now very much appreciate this behavior.

Recent posts

See more



I am a PhD candidate at the University of Wyoming, studying mountain wetlandscapes.