Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara Previously Published Works bannerUC Santa Barbara

WAVOS: a MATLAB toolkit for wavelet analysis and visualization of oscillatory systems


Abstract Background Wavelets have proven to be a powerful technique for the analysis of periodic data, such as those that arise in the analysis of circadian oscillators. While many implementations of both continuous and discrete wavelet transforms are available, we are aware of no software that has been designed with the nontechnical end-user in mind. By developing a toolkit that makes these analyses accessible to end users without significant programming experience, we hope to promote the more widespread use of wavelet analysis. Findings We have developed the WAVOS toolkit for wavelet analysis and visualization of oscillatory systems. WAVOS features both the continuous (Morlet) and discrete (Daubechies) wavelet transforms, with a simple, user-friendly graphical user interface within MATLAB. The interface allows for data to be imported from a number of standard file formats, visualized, processed and analyzed, and exported without use of the command line. Our work has been motivated by the challenges of circadian data, thus default settings appropriate to the analysis of such data have been pre-selected in order to minimize the need for fine-tuning. The toolkit is flexible enough to deal with a wide range of oscillatory signals, however, and may be used in more general contexts. Conclusions We have presented WAVOS: a comprehensive wavelet-based MATLAB toolkit that allows for easy visualization, exploration, and analysis of oscillatory data. WAVOS includes both the Morlet continuous wavelet transform and the Daubechies discrete wavelet transform. We have illustrated the use of WAVOS, and demonstrated its utility for the analysis of circadian data on both bioluminesence and wheel-running data. WAVOS is freely available at

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View