Observation and Ecology: Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World

Observation and Ecology: Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World

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Island Press
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Observation and Ecology: Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World

The need to understand and address large-scale environmental problems that are difficult to study in controlled environments—issues ranging from climate change to overfishing to invasive species—is driving the field of ecology in new and important directions. Observation and Ecology documents that transformation, exploring how scientists and researchers are expanding their methodological toolbox to incorporate an array of new and reexamined observational approaches—from traditional ecological knowledge to animal-borne sensors to genomic and remote-sensing technologies—to track, study, and understand current environmental problems and their implications.
The authors paint a clear picture of what observational approaches to ecology are and where they fit in the context of ecological science. They consider the full range of observational abilities we have available to us and explore the challenges and practical difficulties of using a primarily observational approach to achieve scientific understanding. They also show how observations can be a bridge from ecological science to education, environmental policy, and resource management. 

Observations in ecology can play a key role in understanding our changing planet and the consequences of human activities on ecological processes. This book will serve as an important resource for future scientists and conservation leaders who are seeking a more holistic and applicable approach to ecological science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597268264
Publisher: Island Press
Publication date: 07/16/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Part I The Role of Observation in Ecological Science 13

1 An Observational Approach to Ecology 15

2 Observational Approaches in Historical Context 29

Part II Using Observations in Ecology 45

3 Using All the Senses in Ecology 47

4 Using Technology to Expand Our Observational Senses 63

5 Local, Traditional, and Accidental Ecological Observers and Observations 75

Part III The Challenges Posed by an Observational Approach 87

6 Dealing with Too Many Observations, and Too Few 89

7 Is Observation-Based Ecology Scientific? 109

Part IV Beyond Academia: The Power of Observational Approaches 131

8 Ecology's Renewed Importance in Policy 133

9 Opening Nature's Door to a New Generation of Citizens and Ecologists 151

Conclusions 167

References 177

About the Authors 199

About the Contributors 201

Index 205

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