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All Ebook Formats $29.99 ISBN: 9781610912303 Published July 2012
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Paperback $30.00 ISBN: 9781597268264 Published July 2012


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Observation and Ecology

Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World

 Observation and Ecology
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Rafe Sagarin and Aníbal Pauchard

232 pages | 40 figures, 10 boxes, references, index | 6 x 9

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.

"...[F]ull of enthusiasm and passion for the power of observations to explain, inform, and educate....They take on a number of sacred cows, and gore them, so this will be a thought-provoking and much-discussed book."

"There is much in this volume that field-oriented conservationists will be heartened by, but just as much that will stimulate serious self-inquiry about the practice of science in the field."
Conservation Biology

"Rafe Sagarin and Anibal Paichard have written an engaging manifesto for a renaissance of field research in ecology ... inspiring reading"
Basic and Applied Ecology

"This review scratches the surface of (and heartily endorses) the case the authors make for observation to become prominent again in ecology."
Wildlife Activist

"Sagarin (Univ. of Arizona) and Pauchard (Univ. of Concepcion, Chile) view the history of ecology as moving from observational science during the later 1800s to experimental and theoretial science during the 1900s to revived observations during the 2000s but without replacing experiments and theory. Their book is a guide for this new ecology, defending it against detractors and explaining with sophistication how to proceed."

"Observational ecology demonstrates how and why direct sensory awareness of the natural world is a bridge to deeper ecological understanding. This is a groundbreaking work for teachers, scientists, policymakers, and citizens. It empowers the reader to blend disciplined observation with rigorous science. It explains why hands-on field immersion is the key to understanding and internalizing global environmental change. This is a brilliant handbook and rationale for anyone who wants to make ecological learning accessible."
Mitchell Thomashow, Professor Emeritus, Unity College

"An inspiring, thought-provoking, critically needed treatment of how to use our power of observation to expand ecological knowledge and contribute practical environmental solutions. Observation and Ecology presents and develops a bold holistic approach to ecological research, realized through our human ability to integrate diverse signals and patterns. A must read for current and future ecologists."
Fiorenza Micheli, Professor, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

"Observation and Ecology is a timely, superbly written, and highly innovative manifesto on the importance of clever observations for solving fundamental problems in ecology and environmental management. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the complex workings of ecosystems in our human-dominated world."
David M. Richardson, Director, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

"This book succinctly, and with great enthusiasm, makes the case for observational research in ecology ... If you are already a multidisciplinary or observation-based ecologist, this book will legitimize your work. If not, it should give you some reasons to expand your outlook and encourage you to accept observation-based research as 'real' science."
Biological Conservation

"reaches high"
Quarterly Review in Biology

"This book should motivate restoration ecologists..."
Ecological Restoration

PART I. The Role of Observation in Ecological Science
Chapter 1. An Observational Approach to Ecology
Chapter 2. Observational Approaches in Historical Context
PART II. Using Observations in Ecology
Chapter 3. Using All the Senses in Ecology
Chapter 4. Using Technology to Expand Our Observational Senses
Chapter 5. Local, Traditional, and Accidental Ecological Observers and Observations
PART III. The Challenges Posed by an observational approach
Chapter 6. Dealing with Too Many Observations, and Too Few
Chapter 7. Is Observation-Based Ecology Scientific?
PART IV. Beyond Academia: The Power of Observational approaches
Chapter 8. Ecology's Renewed Importance in Policy
Chapter 9. Opening Nature's Door to a New Generation of Citizens and Ecologists
About the Authors
About the Contributors

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