Firstly, I apologise for posting yet again, but after some advice from the wonderful Ecologist he has advised me to be more precise in my questioning and therefore I hope that I can shed some light on the problem at hand.

I studied piping plover nests and chicks at two beaches and calculated activity budgets into five groups for the chicks:

Feeding, Human/Dog Disturbance, other disturbance (e.g. other wildlife), maintenance (e.g. resting and preening) and 'other'.

I calculated the mean proportions of activity for each brood each day observed as it was stated that individual chicks within a brood were non-independent. I also have proprtions of behaviour in each minor habitat used (e.g. Ocean front saturated zone, intertidal zone, wrack etc) and also mudflats. I also combined all behaviour for all habitats and then calculated proportions of the different habitats used for each behaviour.

The issue is that I have since realised by looking the n= in research papers that it seems that they considered each brood's behaviour as a whole as non-independent so I then found the mean for all of my observations for each brood. The issue is that now my dataset is now very small with only 3 broods at one beach and 4 broods at another beach.

One of the hypotheses is that activity budgets with differ between Ocean Front habitat and mudflat habitat, firstly due to disturbance being greater on the OF.

I used a Mann-Whitney comparing the activity budgets between the OF broods at one beach compared to the other beach and the disturbance and 'other' were significantly different and therefore I am unable to combine the data for both beaches.

So one of my problems is that I have very small sets of data to use.

I will give one example and if this can be answered then this will lead me to a solution for a number of problems.

I have the following table. the null hypothesis is that there is no significant difference in activity between OF Broods and MF Broods. As there was only one beach that had true mudflats used consistently then I will use this beach as an example.

I have attached the excel file showing each brood and their activity budgets within each major habitat type. As you can see B1 is only found in the MF and the others only OF. Because there is only one set of data for the MF then I cannot use a Mann-Whitney and I do not think a Kruskal-Wallis would work even though it allows me to do this with results that would match my expectations in most cases.

I therefore resorted to one of the original studies (actually at the same beaches) and they used a 2x2 table with a column for each habitat and then a row for one behaviour and then the other row for all the other behaviours combined. As they were using a unit of minutes (completely disregarding independence) they used a G-test. However I did the same but with the proportions in the form of percentages and then used a Chi-square. For those values with values smaller than 5 I used a Fisher's Exact test.

I only know VERY basic stats and am worried about getting very complicated and I am on a strict time budget right now. Would these tests be acceptable?

Obviously a study used it, and the other studies used Mann-Whitney (although a few used extremely complicated models) but they had a minimum of 5 or so for each group. One also used Wilcoxin Rank tests to compare a few groups.

Thank you in advance for any help. I have tried to be as thorough as possible, but please let me know if you need any more data.

I have other tests to do, but if this one can be solved then it can be applied to extremely similar data.

Rachel