# BIOL 2060 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Eastern Meadowlark, Random Number Table, Systematic Sampling

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17 May 2020
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BIOL 2060 Chapter 1
1.1: What is ecology?
Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environments,
both abiotic (non-living) and biotic
Ecology should not be equated with environmental studies (which includes social, political, and ethical
dimensions) or with environmentalism (i.e., a political or advocacy movement). Ecology is the scientific
discipline through which we gain objective knowledge about nature, whereas in environmental studies
that knowledge is applied, often involving subjective value judgements
1.2 Science and the scientific method?
Observations
The first step in the scientific method is to make some observations.
➤➤Describe the patterns that you see in the eastern meadowlark’s distribution and abundance.
Hypotheses
The second step of the scientific method is to make some hypotheses. A hypothesis is a potential reason
or explanation for an observed pattern.
make a list of hypotheses that could explain the observation.
Predictions
The third step of the scientific method is to make some predictions. A prediction is an implication of your
hypothesis, and it guides the design of a study to test your hypothesis.
➤➤Pick one hypothesis about the distribution and abundance of the eastern meadowlark and make a list
of predictions that follow from this hypothesis.
1.3 Principles of sampling design for making observations
Random sampling is the best type of sampling because it is unbiased. It is the best
way to generate an unbiased representation of the distribution of a species because all
the subsets of a geographic area have an equal probability of being selected in the
sample.
In systematic sampling you take your samples at predetermined, regular intervals
across the area you are sampling.
Haphazard sampling is the simplest, but least desirable, method. You arbitrarily decide
where to take your samples (without using a random number table or planning a
systematic approach), often for convenience in terms of time, budget, or logistics.
Quadrats (or sampling frames) can be used to randomly sample non-mobile organisms
such as dandelions and moss. Quadrats can be used to estimate density (number of
individuals per unit area), frequency of occurrence (from presence/absence data),
percentage cover, or biomass (fresh or dry weight of harvested vegetation) (Wheater et
al. 2011). The number of quadrats and their size, shape, and placement will depend on
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## Document Summary

Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environments, both abiotic (non-living) and biotic. Ecology should not be equated with environmental studies (which includes social, political, and ethical dimensions) or with environmentalism (i. e. , a political or advocacy movement). Ecology is the scientific discipline through which we gain objective knowledge about nature, whereas in environmental studies that knowledge is applied, often involving subjective value judgements. The first step in the scientific method is to make some observations. Describe the patterns that you see in the eastern meadowlark"s distribution and abundance. The second step of the scientific method is to make some hypotheses. A hypothesis is a potential reason or explanation for an observed pattern. Pick one of your observations about the distribution and abundance of the eastern meadowlark and make a list of hypotheses that could explain the observation. The third step of the scientific method is to make some predictions.

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