Splitting axis labels

9 sept. 2013

A non-cluttered way to display many labels in a single axis: split the labels in two columns.

Reference Poza M, Gayoso C, Gómez MJ, Rumbo-Feal S, Tomás M, et al. (2012) Exploring Bacterial Diversity in Hospital Environments by GS-FLX Titanium Pyrosequencing. PLoS ONE 7(8): e44105.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044105  (paper link)


Two axes in one

23 nov. 2012

An intelligent (nice, informative and compact) way of breaking up an axis without the need of doubling the axis in two lines. 

Figure 1. Sample- and individual-based rarefaction and accumulation curves. Accumulation curves (jagged curves) represent a single ordering of individuals (solid-line, jagged curve) or samples (openline, jagged curve), as they are successively pooled.  [...]

Reference Gotelli, N.J. and Colwell, R.C. (2001) Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecology Letters 4: 379–391. (paper link)

Input courtesy of Dr. Conchita Alonso


Assigning plots to axes

24 ago. 2012

I have thought a way for clearly and simply indicating to which axis each plotted line belongs. I hope no more explanations are needed (if so, I would have not reached my goal :). Different colours could also be used (I did something similar in this paper). 

Have you previously seen this in published papers somewhere else? Please comment.


Visualizing the meaning of log-scales

11 oct. 2010

Plotting in log-scale is often the only way of displaying a given dataset. Unfortunately, log-scales are more difficult to understand even for trained eyes. Often, it is used the formula "note the log-scale of y-axis" in the figure legend. However, it hardly makes the plot easier to follow for log-adverse people. This plot shows an elegant way to display the untransformed data and, at the same time, benefiting from the illustrative power of a log-scale. 

Reference Hebert, P.D.N., Ratnasingham, S. and deWaard, J.R. (2003) Barcoding animal life: cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 divergences among closely related species. 2003 Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B S96-S99 270 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0025


Breaking plotting rules

11 abr. 2010

The interesting thing about this plot is the reversed x-axis: from left to right "vegetation height" goes from tall to short vegetation. Note the right-hand arrow indicating this unusual x-axis scale. The authors explain that this was done to "...emphasize that islands with low vegetation are more dissimilar from Staniel than are islands with high vegetation.".

More generally, this plot illustrates that there are apparently fixed plotting rules that can be (carefully) broken in a very interesting way.

Reference J.B. Losos, K.I. Warheit and T.W. Schoener (1997) Adaptive differentiation following experimental island colonization in Anolis lizards. Nature 387: 70-73.  (download pdf)



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