Most ecology books and courses focus on the facts and the concepts. While these are essential, many young ecologists need to figure out how to actually do research themselves. "How to Do Ecology" provides nuts-and-bolts advice on how to develop a successful thesis and research program. This book presents different approaches to posing testable ecological questions. In particular, it covers the uses, strengths, and limitations of manipulative experiments in ecology. It will help young ecologists consider meaningful treatments, controls, replication, independence, and randomization in experiments, as well as where to do experiments and how to organize a season of work. This book also presents strategies for analyzing natural patterns, the value of alternative hypotheses, and what to do with negative results. Science is only part of being a successful ecologist.
This engagingly written book offers students advice on working with other people and navigating their way through the land mines of research. Findings that don't get communicated are of little value. "How to Do Ecology" suggests effective ways to communicate information in the form of journal articles, oral presentations, and posters. Finally, it outlines strategies for developing successful grant and research proposals. Numerous checklists, figures, and boxes throughout the book summarize and reinforce the main points. In short, this book makes explicit many of the unspoken assumptions behind doing good research in ecology, and provides an invaluable resource for meaningful conversations among ecologists.
"[A] refreshing, concise work aimed primarily at those contemplating or performing ecological research studies. The authors' approach will be equally beneficial to those in various other areas of study [...] Highly recommended."
"This book is a wealth of information for beginning professionals."
– Erika V. Iyengar, American Biology Teacher
"How to Do Ecology contains much of the sage advice that good supervisors have been giving their postgraduate students for years [...] [I]t's absolutely correct and vital information."
– Robyn K. Whipp, Austral Ecology
"Reading this book feels like having a good talk during a long walk in the woods with a wise and experienced advisor who really has the time to distill and share years of thinking about how ecological research works. Get it, and keep it handy, and your work will be the richer and more successful for it."
– Jessica Gurevitch, Stony Brook University
"This 'concise handbook' is excellent in helping the targeted audience, as well as land managers, amateurs, and others in understanding how ecological research is done."
– Dan R. Kunkle, Wildlife Activist
List of Illustrations vii List of Boxes ix The Aims of This Book xi Chapter 1: Picking a Question 1 Chapter 2: Posing Questions (or Picking an Approach) 16 Chapter 3: Using Experiments to Test Hypotheses 35 Chapter 4: Analyzing Patterns and Data 60 Chapter 5: Working with Other People 81 Chapter 6: Communicating What You Find 88 Chapter 7: Conclusions 130 Acknowledgments 133 References 135 Index 141
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Richard Karban is Professor of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, and the coauthor of "Induced Responses to Herbivory". Mikaela Huntzinger teaches ecology and coordinates professional development programs for teaching assistants at the University of California, Davis