Ecological Field Data Collection

This page deals with the set of methods related to ecological field data-collection methods, which can be used to understand how human activities influence ecological elements and processes, and how ecological patterns and processes influence social outcomes. This content discusses methods such as point counts and survey grids, transects, distance and plotless sampling, quadrats, capture and mark-recapture, abiotic environmental sampling, core sampling, telemetry, and isotope and genetic analysis.

The Chapter summary video gives a brief introduction and summary of this group of methods, what SES problems/questions they are useful for, and key resources needed to conduct the methods. The methods video/s introduce specific methods, including their origin and broad purpose, what SES problems/questions the specific method is useful for, examples of the method in use and key resources needed. The Case Studies demonstrate the method in action in more detail, including an introduction to the context and issue, how the method was used, the outcomes of the process and the challenges of implementing the method. The labs/activities give an example of a teaching activity relating to this group of methods, including the objectives of the activity, resources needed, steps to follow and outcomes/evaluation options.

More details can be found in Chapter 6 of the Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems

Chapter summary:

This video introduces the concept of Ecological Field Data Collection

Method Summaries

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Case Studies

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Lab teaching/ activity

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Tips and Tricks

8 Things we wish we knew before doing field work

Jansen, R. & Pellowe, K.E. (2022)

Key Publications related to Ecological Field Data Collection:
  • Henderson, P.A. 2003. Practical Methods in Ecology. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Kent, M. 2011. Vegetation Description and Data Analysis: A Practical Approach. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.
  • Sala, O.E., R.B. Jackson, H.A. Mooney, and R.W. Howarth. 2000 Methods in Ecosystem Science. New York: Springer.
  • Wheater C.P., J.R. Bell, and P.A. Cook. 2011. Practical Field Ecology: A Project Guide. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons