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A Primer Of Ecological Statistics [Paperback]

Nicholas J. Gotelli , Aaron M. Ellison
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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A Primer of Ecological Statistics, Second Edition A Primer of Ecological Statistics, Second Edition 4.1 out of 5 stars (7)
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Book Description

May 1, 2004 0878932690 978-0878932696 1
A Primer of Ecological Statistics explains fundamental material in probability theory and experimental design for ecologists and environmental scientists. The book emphasizes a general introduction to probability theory and provides a detailed discussion of specific designs and analyses that are typically encountered in ecology and environmental science. Appropriate for use as either a stand-alone or supplementary text for upper-division undergraduate or graduate courses in ecological and environmental statistics, ecology, environmental science, environmental studies, or experimental design, the Primer also serves as a resource for environmental professionals who need to use and interpret statistics daily but have little or no formal training in the subject.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I discusses the fundamentals of probability and statistical thinking. It introduces the logic and language of probability (Chapter 1), explains common statistical distributions used in ecology (Chapter 2) and important measures of central tendency and spread (Chapter 3), explains P-values, hypothesis testing, and statistical errors (Chapter 4), and introduces frequentist, Bayesian, and Monte Carlo methods of analysis (Chapter 5).

Part II discusses how to successfully design and execute field experiments and sampling studies. Topics include design strategies (Chapter 6), a "bestiary" of experimental designs (Chapter 7), and transformations and data management (Chapter 8).

Part III discusses specific analyses, and covers the material that is the main core of most statistics texts. Topics include regression (Chapter 9), analysis of variance (Chapter 10), categorical data analysis (Chapter 11), and multivariate analysis (Chapter 12).

The book includes a comprehensive glossary, a mathematical appendix on matrix algebra, and extensively annotated tables and figures. Footnotes introduce advanced and ancillary material: some are purely historical, others cover mathematical/statistical proofs or details, and still others address current topics in the ecological literature.

Editorial Reviews


In short, only positive superlatives come to mind to describe the merit of this book. Its obvious strength is that is was written by ecologists for ecologists. From now on, I will use this textbook to teach statistics to undergraduate students and I will suggest it to graduate students and researchers who need to refresh their statistical knowledge. --Marie-Josée Fortin, Écoscience

This volume provides a wonderful review of traditional statistical methods. It is also an introduction to new statistical ideas. I highly recommend it. --Philip M. Dixon, The Quarterly Review of Biology

This volume provides a wonderful review of traditional statistical methods. It is also an introduction to new statistical ideas. I highly recommend it. --Philip M. Dixon, The Quarterly Review of Biology

About the Author

Nicholas J. Gotelli is Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Vermont. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1980, and earned his Ph.D. at Florida State University in 1985. He is also the author of A Primer of Ecology, third edition (2001, Sinauer Associates, Inc.), Null Models in Ecology (with Gary R. Graves; 1996, Smithsonian Press), and EcoSim, an ecological software package. Dr. Gotelli currently serves on the Board of Editors of Ecology and Ecology Letters. His research interests include: the evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants, biogeography, null model analysis of community structure, ant diversity, and demography. Aaron M. Ellison is Senior Research Fellow in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at the Harvard Forest, and Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received a B.A. in 1982 from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1986. Dr. Ellison received the National Science Foundation's Presidential Faculty Fellow award in 1992 for 'demonstrated excellence and continued promise both in scientific and engineering research and in teaching future generations of students to extend and apply human knowledge.' His research foci include: food web dynamics, community ecology of wetlands and forests, evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants, and the application of Bayesian inference to ecological research and environmental decision-making. Dr. Ellison currently serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Ecology and Ecological Monographs, with primary responsibility for statistically oriented manuscripts

Product Details

  • Paperback: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates; 1 edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878932690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878932696
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Statistics for people with muddy boots April 5, 2005
I was delighted with this book, because it fits some of my own prejudices about statistics!

We agree that the mechanics of statistical analysis are not the most important part of statistics for ecological studies. After all, for the last couple of decades the brunt of this has been borne by computers and software engineers. Much more important is that researchers understand what the computer output means. And Gotelli and Ellison devote most of their book to this.

Too many people collect data, then try to work out how to analyse it and what conclusions to draw. It's better to decide on the research question right at the start, then decide what kind of analysis is appropriate, and then what numbers you need to collect. The main part of this book is about this study design process.

In addition to the conventional frequentist approach, the book introduces Monte Carlo methods and Bayesian thinking. (I was interested to see that they reject non-parametric methods out of hand, recommending the use of Monte Carlo methods instead.) Moreover, they deal with parameter estimation and model building as well as hypothesis testing.

Written by ecologists for ecologists, it is remarkably clear and easy to read. You don't need much math to be able to follow the arguments, and numerical examples are there. (I for one can't cope with too much algebra; I need to see some numbers slotted in and results come out.) The final chapter is an exception, as it uses matrix algebra, but there's enough explanation of this in an appendix. Remember that the number crunching will be done by your statistical package: it will probably do things right if you ask it to do the right things, and this book is a guide to the right things to do with your data.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Primer is truly helpful March 3, 2006
I have found this treatment of statistics unusually lucid and practical for the ecologist (or, I imagine, other scientist) desiring a better understanding of statistics and guidance in practical use of various types of statistical analysis. Unlike many statistical texts, it takes an almost conversational tone in explaining many concepts, using clear examples to illustrate various statistical approaches. While it is not as complete or detailed as larger statistical texts, it covers the fundamentals of most of the important tests and methods ecologists use on a day-to-day basis. One area of weakness is the treatment of classical non-parametric analyses, which Gotelli trades in entirely for Bayesian or Monte Carlo methods.

All in all, a very useful book for an aspiring ecologist to have on his or her bookshelf.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best intro stats book for ecologists April 3, 2007
I'm a biologist and a writer. I am not a mathematician. This book presents a broad array of statistical concepts in a way that even I can understand. You won't have to reread paragraph after paragraph, because the text is completely straightforward. Don't expect to use this as your stand-alone statistics reference, but do expect to use it as a primary source for ecology-related techniques. A "must have" for all biologists.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
For all you ecology and nature types, this is the stats textbook for you. These guys explain all the important stats concepts using examples I understand, like ant hills and bird density, and they cite real life experiments, give real experimental design suggestions, etc. Never before have I understood complex statistical concepts as well as I do after reading this book. And it's enjoyable reading! They really have a sense of humor. It's a must-have for everyone doing research in the fields of ecology or wildlife science!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite for the beginner June 12, 2008
While the preface and first chapter of this book do a good job of simply explaining the terms used in statistics, I find that the authors needed to spend more time fleshing out the concepts. I've been looking for a statistics book that focuses on ecology and the environment, and I believe this one can be it; I would like to have seen different scenarios used in the examples, rather than one scenario, then a rapid shuffle forward to the next example. A good one to add to a statistics course, or to discuss in a class setting...or even with someone who knows statistics inside-out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a good introductory book, but well written. January 17, 2013
By Matt
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was required for an introductory stats class that I took. With no background in statistics, I had trouble using this book. While the information in the book was good, I needed a beginners book that had practice problems and clear concepts. I give the book a five star and the professor a 1 star.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Statistical Aid for Evironmental Science October 10, 2011
By gp
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am using this book for my Master's in Environmental Science. Very useful tool that anyone going into scientific research should have! I will definitely keep this as a desk reference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recent PhD Grad June 25, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Used my advisor's copy to study for my preliminary exams. I loved it so much that now I am buying it. I agree with the reviewer who said this book is not for the beginner. That being said, there is a rich background of historical, philisophical, and practical points about statistics and how it applies to science that I just loved it. I recommend this book to any graduate student in an ecological field. If you need to bone up on your statistics and already forgot everything you learned in your clinical statistics class (because there weren't any ecological examples), this book is for you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very challenging read, but worthwhile
While one may have to be in an optimal state of mind before sitting down with this book, it is definitely worth the time going through the different quantitative and experimental... Read more
Published 4 months ago by jL
5.0 out of 5 stars Fight your fear of stats with this book.
A great book which explains, in 'understandable' detail, the statistical tests used for understanding the world around us. Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Fobes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ecology statistics book!
This is a fantastic ecology stats book! I bought it because I wanted it longer than the library loan would allow, and realized it was going to be handy later on. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazoning100
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Scientist with little statistical background
A Primer of Ecological Statistics was a fantastic read and I'm not even finished. This is not a textbook. Read more
Published 19 months ago by E. Raslich
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for Theory
This text is very useful for understanding the theory behind statistics. It also attempts to help in decifering how to read statistical results. Read more
Published on September 27, 2011 by N-Singh
5.0 out of 5 stars Applied statistics clearly explained
This is a GREAT book to be introduced to statistics applied to the environment and populations. It provides ready-to-use information for any kind of experimental design. Read more
Published on July 22, 2011 by Canobbio Sergio
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that's become my go-to source.
I bought this a few years ago because it was required for a field ecology course. Over time, it's proven to be the best statistics resource that I have - even better than the... Read more
Published on February 1, 2011 by CynBio
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tool for better understanding of ecological stats
This text has really helped me gain a better grasp on the stats I use in fisheries ecology. Even in grad school I struggled with stats. Read more
Published on January 17, 2011 by fishbio
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Book in excellent condition. Amazon shipped one day after I placed my order, then I got the book in less than 6 days! Great Amazon, keep up the prices low and the good service!
Published on September 19, 2010 by marpesias
5.0 out of 5 stars don't leave home without it!
this book saved me when i was struggling in a biostats course. it has great examples, you can get the data sets from the website and it really explains things clearly. Read more
Published on June 15, 2009 by nature lover
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