This module will focus on deriving inferences in ecology. We will emphasize examples in which controversies exist, in part, because of the application of inferential tools and associated assumptions. As the first module of the course, we also will stress skills required to critically read the literature and effectively lead and participate in discussions.



Readings, HW and things to think about

Thursday Aug 18

Patterns and the Scientific Method

  • Why is there controversy in science?

Reading for today: Platt 1964, Reading the literature

HW for next time: Design a figure based on these data

Tuesday Aug 23

Observational vs Experimental Data

  • Experimental design
  • Controversy: examples
  • Discussion of the figures you made

Reading: Hurlbert 1984

Thursday Aug 25

Classic Statistics and P-values

Tuesday Aug 30

Simplicity amid Complexity

Thursday Sept 1

Worm 2006 Controversy: 

  • Discussion: How do different assumptions influence inference?

Reading: Myers and Worm 2003 + additional optional reading

Cool thoughts: Why most published research findings are false (Ioannidis)

HW: What do you think the role of scientists should be in environmental policy (e.g., in conservation or sustainability); i.e., how will you handle a request to "help us solve this problem." Come up with a real world example

Tuesday Sept 5

The Role of Science in Conservation and Policy

  • Vignettes for discussion:
    • Marine protected areas (considering alternatives)
    • Declaration of funding (Greenpeace-Hilborn)
    • Environmental bullies (tuna conservation)