How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook, Second Edition by Richard Karban

By Richard Karban

Most books and classes in ecology disguise evidence and ideas yet do not clarify how you can really do ecological learn. How to Do Ecology presents nuts-and-bolts suggestion on organizing and undertaking a winning study software. This specific booklet explains the right way to decide upon a examine query and solution it via manipulative experiments and systematic observations. simply because technological know-how is a social exercise, the publication offers techniques for operating with folks, together with professors and collaborators. It indicates potent how you can speak your findings within the type of magazine articles, oral shows, posters, and provide and examine proposals. The publication additionally comprises principles that can assist you determine your pursuits, set up a season of fieldwork, and care for adverse effects. in brief, it makes specific a few of the unstated assumptions in the back of doing stable learn in ecology and gives a useful source for significant conversations among ecologists.

This moment version of How to Do Ecology good points new sections on accomplishing and reading observational surveys, task looking, and changing into a extra artistic researcher, in addition to up to date sections on statistical analyses.

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Extra info for How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook, Second Edition

Sample text

Our parents, teachers, friends, society have taught us to censor our thoughts and inclinations. Failing to do so leads to so much humiliation that, as Foucault’s panopticon tells us, we repress ideas that may be “incorrect” before we are even aware of them (Foucault 1977). In order to generate new ideas, we need to temporarily turn off the censor in our heads. Be willing to hang with the dumb ideas that you will inevitably come up with, because the really great ideas stand on the shoulders of the dumb ones.

Repeatedly defoliating the plants may produce dramatic effects; however, this result will tell us little about the effects of real herbivores on plants if repeated defoliation does not occur in nature. Conversely, picking only a single, modest level of damage may cause us to underestimate the effects of real herbivory. The best bet here might be to use a range of treatment levels that spans the range of damage that is naturally encountered. We can sometimes gain interesting insights by including treatments outside of the current range that represent projections of future conditions.

So, for instance, another way to exclude small herbivores is to treat plants with selective pesticides. Such a treatment is likely to cause its own artifacts. However, the artifacts associated with pesticides are probably different from those caused by caging. If you find that herbivores have a consistent effect on plants regardless of how they are experimentally manipulated, you can feel more confident that your conclusions are real and robust. You can often avoid erroneously assuming that your treatments have caused your effects by thinking first about potential side effects of your treatments and attempting to include them in controls.

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