In the past nine chapters we have presented a variety of experimental results to illustrate concepts we have discussed. We have described how data are collected in very general terms, because it was the results that we were concerned with rather than the methodology. The aim of this chapter is to describe commonly used methods and procedures to help you understand how scientific information is obtained. Scientific knowledge is built from the data we collect using well-designed studies and experiments. Poorly designed experiments can lead to erroneous conclusions. We do not discuss statistics as that is a subject unto itself (Underwood, 1997; Zar, 1999; Quinn and Keough, 2002); we merely want you to understand how ecological information is obtained. This chapter is divided into sections that address sampling population abundance, constructing survivorship curves and designing population interaction experiments.

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