Scientific method

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Biological Sciences
BIO 105
Bradley Wetherbee

How is biology studied? • One approach guides the study of biology at all levels (molecules → ecosystems) • Scientific method ◦ Observation ◦ Questioning ◦ Hypothesis ◦ Testing ◦ Explanation Observation • Start of scientific process • Something completely new or something that has been around for a long time • Leads to questions ◦ What explains the observation • Tree frog example: ◦ Deformities observed in many ponds in NorthAmerica in mid 1990's Questioning • Asking questions is the heart of science ◦ Why something happens? ◦ Why something appears as it does? • Gathering background info • Tree frog example: ◦ Pesticides? ◦ UV light and ozone depletion? ◦ Parasites? Hypothesis • Tentative explanation • Possible answer to questioning • Believing that: ◦ Hypotheses can be tested ◦ Events have causes • Tree frog example: ◦ Deformities cause by pesticides Testing • Make predictions based in hypothesis • Perform tests/experiments • If outcome different than expected, reject hypothesis and retest • If outcome supported by hypothesis, one step closer to being considered valid • Tree frog example: ◦ Lake tested for pesticides ◦ Pesticide leve
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