The teaching of ecology: The teaching of quantitative ecology
- Botany Department, University of Otago
Like the term "cytology" which, in the 1930s, came to mean the study of little more than chromosomes, "quantitative ecology" is used in both a general and a more particular sense. In the restricted sense it has come to be equated with the virtuoso techniques of community analysis pioneered by Curtis, Goodall, Williams & Lambert and others; that is, primarily the application of multivariate statistics to ecology. In the more general sense, on the other hand, quantitative ecology has for its province the quantification of all ecological perception; that is, the replacement whenever possible of subjective estimates by objective measurements, of prejudice by fact, of judgment by logic. This is not to say that judgment can, or should be, eliminated or that ecological intuition should be decried, but merely that the aim of quantitative ecology is to refine all the normal ecological procedures of gathering and manipulating data and drawing conclusions. to the point where judgment will be as soundly based as it can be.