How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook

Princeton University Press

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.

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About the author

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
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Sep 19, 2011
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9781400840984
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Richard Karban
The news that a flowering weed—mousear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)—can sense the particular chewing noise of its most common caterpillar predator and adjust its chemical defenses in response led to headlines announcing the discovery of the first “hearing” plant. As plants lack central nervous systems (and, indeed, ears), the mechanisms behind this “hearing” are unquestionably very different from those of our own acoustic sense, but the misleading headlines point to an overlooked truth: plants do in fact perceive environmental cues and respond rapidly to them by changing their chemical, morphological, and behavioral traits.

In Plant Sensing and Communication, Richard Karban provides the first comprehensive overview of what is known about how plants perceive their environments, communicate those perceptions, and learn. Facing many of the same challenges as animals, plants have developed many similar capabilities: they sense light, chemicals, mechanical stimulation, temperature, electricity, and sound. Moreover, prior experiences have lasting impacts on sensitivity and response to cues; plants, in essence, have memory. Nor are their senses limited to the processes of an individual plant: plants eavesdrop on the cues and behaviors of neighbors and—for example, through flowers and fruits—exchange information with other types of organisms. Far from inanimate organisms limited by their stationary existence, plants, this book makes unquestionably clear, are in constant and lively discourse.
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