testing normality of the residuals

I have an Randomized block design experimental set up and a data consisting of species abundance. I would like to test for normality of the residuals, as in unexplained variance due tot the blocks.

I am new to statitstics. To find the resisuals I understand I need to create a linear model (lm()). But from the examples I have found online, it only works with one parameter/column (like an environmental variable), right? How do I deal with my data? Do I need to use the diversity function?

Thanks in advance

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