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The first edition of Ecological Methods was published in 1966 and became an instant classic text. The third edition was published in 2000 authored by Professors Southwood and Henderson.
The availability of computer programs for many aspects of analysis of ecological data has continued to transform the way ecologists work. This has resulted in some important changes in the 4th edition. Many of the computational methods described in detail in the 3rd edition have been omitted and replaced with a description of the available software with brief descriptions of use and where to obtain it. In particular, reference is made to procedures available in R and other freely available software systems.
The authors also include some photographs of equipment in use, avoiding lengthy descriptions of apparatuses. Furthermore, there are far more references to web resources including equipment suppliers, software downloads and detailed methodologies, including suppliers in non-western countries e.g. Japan.
Recent references have been added to all chapters. Generally, references to methodologies which are no longer used have been removed. However, older references to techniques still in use have been kept to ensure the work acts as a good reference to the development of ecological methods. The authors have ensured that the 4th edition enables younger readers to access older literature, which is still invaluable though often ignored.
Effort has been expended in making the text more accessible to advanced undergraduate and young post-graduate students. The first edition of Ecological Methods was an undergraduate textbook. The 3rd edition had become an advanced text for graduate students and experienced researchers. While aiming to keep the 4th edition useful to experienced researchers, the authors have ensured that all chapters have text which is accessible and useful to students.