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|15 Illustrations, black & white; 11 Illustrations, color; 1 Halftones, black & white; 3 Halftones, color; 14 Line drawings, black & white; 8 Line drawings, color; 1 Tables, black & white
This book is intended to help individual ecologists to develop a better vision for their ecology. It aims to encourage early career researchers to be realistic about their expectations: to question everything, not to take everything for granted, and to make up their own minds.
Ecology is one of the most challenging of sciences, with unambiguous knowledge much harder to achieve than it might seem. But it is also one of the most important sciences for the future health of our planet. It is vital that our efforts are as effective as possible at achieving our desired outcomes. This book is intended to help individual ecologists to develop a better vision for their ecology ? and the way they can best contribute to science.
The central premise is that to advance ecology effectively as a discipline, ecologists need to be able to establish conclusive answers to key questions rather than merely proposing plausible explanations for mundane observations. Ecologists need clear and honest understanding of how we have come to do things the way we do them now, the limitations of our approaches, our goals for the future and how we may need to change our approaches if we are to maintain or enhance our relevance and credibility. Readers are taken through examples to show what a critical appraisal can reveal and how this approach can benefit ecology if it is applied more routinely.
Ecological systems are notable for their complexity and their variability. Ecology is, as indicated by the title of this book, a truly difficult science. Ecologists have achieved a great deal, but they can do better. This book aims to encourage early-career researchers to be realistic about their expectations: to question everything, not to take everything for granted, and to make up their own minds.
1. Why a hard science needs strong critique 2. The evolution of ecology 3. What sort of a science is ecology? 4. Rigorous ecology needs rigorous statistics 5. Ecological scale and context dependence 6. Assembling the ecological puzzle 7. Respecting the known unknowns 8. Theory, prediction and application 9. From pattern to process in the search for generality 10. Effective ecology