Most books and courses in ecology cover facts and concepts but don't explain how to actually do ecological research. How to Do Ecology provides nuts-and-bolts advice on organizing and conducting a successful research program. This one-of-a-kind book explains how to choose a research question and answer it through manipulative experiments and systematic observations. Because science is a social endeavor, How to Do Ecology provides strategies for working with other people, including professors and collaborators. It suggests effective ways to communicate your findings in the form of journal articles, oral presentations, posters, and grant and research proposals. How to Do Ecology also includes ideas to help you identify your goals, organize a season of fieldwork, and deal with negative results. In short, it makes explicit many of the unspoken assumptions behind doing good research in ecology and provides an invaluable resource for meaningful conversations between ecologists.
This second edition of How to Do Ecology features new sections on conducting and analyzing observational surveys, job hunting, and becoming a more creative researcher, as well as updated sections on statistical analyses.
List of Illustrations vii
List of Boxes ix
Preface to the Second Edition xi
Introduction: The Aims of This Book xiii
Chapter 1 Picking a Question 1
Chapter 2 Posing Questions (or Picking an Approach) 19
Chapter 3 Using Experiments to Test Hypotheses 37
Chapter 4 Analyzing Experimental Data 58
Chapter 5 Using Surveys to Explore Patterns 77
Chapter 6 Building Your Indoor Skills 97
Chapter 7 Working with People and Getting a Job in Ecology 105
Chapter 8 Communicating What You Find 119
Chapter 9 Conclusions 164
Richard Karban is professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis. He is the coauthor of Induced Responses to Herbivory and author of Plant Sensing and Communication.
Mikaela Huntzinger is assistant director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of California, Davis.
Ian S. Pearse is a postdoctoral associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University.
Praise for the previous edition:
"[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