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Statistics for wildlifers: how much and what kind?

Wildlife Society Bulletin

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Abstract

Quantitative methods are playing increasingly important roles in wildlife ecology and, ultimately, management. This change poses a challenge for wildlife practitioners and students who are not well-educated in mathematics and statistics. Here we give our opinions on what wildlife biologists should know about statistics, while recognizing that not everyone is inclined mathematically. For those who are, we recommend that they take mathematics coursework at least through calculus and linear algebra. They should take statistics courses that are focused conceptually , stressing the Why rather than the How of doing statistics. For less mathematically oriented wildlifers, introductory classes in statistical techniques will furnish some useful background in basic methods but may provide little appreciation of when the methods are appropriate. These wildlifers will have to rely much more on advice from statisticians. Far more important than knowing how to analyze data is an understanding of how to obtain and recognize good data. Regardless of the statistical education they receive, all wildlife biologists should appreciate the importance of controls, replication, and randomization in studies they conduct. Understanding these concepts requires little mathematical sophistication, but is critical to advancing the science of wildlife ecology.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Statistics for wildlifers: how much and what kind?
Series title:
Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume
29
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2001
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Description:
p. 1055-1060
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
1055
Last page:
1060
Number of Pages:
5