Practical Field Ecology: A Project Guide
The text is divided into six distinct chapters. The first chapter covers planning, including health and safety together with information on a variety of statistical techniques for examining and analysing data. Following a chapter dealing with site characterisation and general aspects of species identification, subsequent chapters describe the techniques used to survey and census particular groups of organisms. The final chapter covers interpreting and presenting data and writing up the research. The emphasis here is on appropriate wording of interpretation and structure and content of the report.
Choosing a topic for study.
Ecological research questions.
Monitoring individual species and groups of species.
Monitoring species richness.
Monitoring population sizes and density.
Monitoring community structure.
A note of caution.
Creating aims, objectives and hypotheses.
Reviewing the literature.
Other sources of information.
Health and safety issues.
Project design and data management.
Designing and setting up experiments and surveys.
Types of data.
Planning statistical analysis.
Choosing sampling methods.
2 Monitoring site characteristics.
Examination of landscape scale.
Measuring microclimatic variables.
Other physical attributes.
Measuring biological attributes.
3 Sampling static organisms.
Sampling techniques for static organisms.
Distribution of static organisms.
4 Sampling mobile organisms.
Distribution of mobile organisms.
Capturing aquatic invertebrates.
Drags, dredges and grabs.
Artificial substrate samplers.
Capturing soil-living invertebrates.
Floatation and phase-separation.
Tullgren funnels as a method of dry extraction.
Capturing ground-active invertebrates.
Capturing invertebrates from plants.
Capturing airborne invertebrates.
Flight interception (window and malaise) traps.
5 Analysing and interpreting information.
Keys to tests.
Exploring and describing data.
Transforming and screening data.
Spatial and temporal distributions.
Population estimation techniques: densities and population sizes.
Richness and diversity.
Similarity, dissimilarity and distance coefficients.
Recording descriptive statistics.
Testing hypotheses using basic statistical tests and simple general linear models.
Differences between samples.
Relationships between variables.
Associations between frequency distributions.
More advanced general linear models for predictive analysis.
Analysis of covariance and multivariate analysis of variance.
Discriminant function analysis.
Generalized linear models.
Extensions of the generalized linear model.
Statistical methods to examine pattern and structure in communities: classification, indicator species and ordination.
Indicator species analysis.
6 Presenting the information.
Choice of font.
Appendix 1 Glossary of statistical terms.
• Takes students from the planning stage, into the field and clearly guides them through organism identification in the laboratory and computer-based data analysis and interpretation.
• Includes a chapter on how to write project reports and present and analyse data collected in the field
“I would certainly recommend this book to be used as a textbook for students undertaking higher level VET (Vocational EducationTraining) Certificates and Diplomas, as well as applications for first and second year levels of university.” (Austral Ecology, 1 October 2013)
“This will be a great boom to tutors on residential field courses or lecturers supervising student projects as a part of degree courses, particularly those concerned with animal ecology, though there is much sound advice for those working on other groups of organisms.” (Biodiversity and Conservation, 1 October 2012)
“With all the points above in mind, I know that I will make this book available to all my students. In fact, having read it, I can now even answer questions about slurp guns.” (African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 1 November 2012)
“It is very informative and its 606 pages are a real bargain for £45.00.” (British Ecological Society Bulletin, 1 August 2012)
"Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through graduate students." (Choice, 1 January 2012)
"The book is very well structured and takes the reader through the entire process of carrying out an ecological research project in clear and logically ordered sections ... The book contains a huge amount of information which is presented in a highly accessible way, with clear illustrations and case studies throughout." (Elsevier's Biological Conservation, 1 January 2012)
"I highly recommend the very thorough and approachable book Practical Field Ecology: A Project Guide by C. Philip Wheater, James R. Bell, and Penny A. Cook, to any students, researchers, ecologists, business people, and policy makers who are seeking a very well grounded guide to planning, executing, measuring, and reporting on any ecological project. This book provides the tools necessary to provide scientifically sound information for informed decision making in any ecology related field." (Blog Business World, 19 November 2011)
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