Quantitative Ecology: A New Unified Approach
Copyright Year: 2019
ISBN 13: 9781946135537
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
Conditions of Use
I find this book to be comprehensive, but perhaps tries to be *too* comprehensive. It often addresses history or anecdotes in ways that are a bit distracting. These are always related to ecology, and the topic at hand, but sometimes break up... read more
I find this book to be comprehensive, but perhaps tries to be *too* comprehensive. It often addresses history or anecdotes in ways that are a bit distracting. These are always related to ecology, and the topic at hand, but sometimes break up relevant information in ways that make it more difficult to process. On the other hand, the book does very well at explaining (especially mathematical) material that is often hard to find interpretable resources for.
I don't find many errors (and none glaring) in the accuracy of the information presented, however there is some simplification that is maybe overgeneral or at least not ideally descriptive, which I find acceptable for the target audience of the book.
I find the topics covered to be up-to-date and relevant, but unlikely to become obsolete in the near future.
The text is clear, and never inaccessible, but occasionally lacks a clear point.
The framework and terminology are clear and consistent.
Reorganization by subunit is, I think, perhaps where this book would shine.
Chapters are presented in a logical clear fashion, though I find sometimes the material does not flow the way I'd like it to. This may work for others, though.
I found no interface issues
I found no grammatical errors
I do not find any cultural insensitivity in this book.
I feel the book starts a bit too general, or perhaps unfocused, on the topic at hand. As an example, there is some discussion of the scale of ecology and theory that addresses the Universe - a bit far-ranging. Starting in Chapter 3, I feel the book hits its stride and gives a good and complete perspective of Quantitative Ecology for the target audience.
This textbook covers a wide range of ecological systems and mathematical formulas. Even though the focus of the textbook is quantitative ecology, it still would benefit from an overview of general or less quantitative ecology at the start of each... read more
This textbook covers a wide range of ecological systems and mathematical formulas. Even though the focus of the textbook is quantitative ecology, it still would benefit from an overview of general or less quantitative ecology at the start of each new section. For example, on page 102 when it talks about mutualism with humans, it makes understanding the calculations more motivating. Also, asking whether humans' relationships with machines is mutualism or not was a great way to encourage critical thinking and extrapolation of the concepts to other subjects of study. The marble on the saddle is a great use of a visual example too. Chapter 15 was my favorite and did a great job of explaining infectious diseases and how we try to predict their growth, consequences, and demise.
I cannot comment on the accuracy of the equations as that is not my area of expertise. But the information on viruses and biology and human disease (portals of entry and exit) were accurate. Chapter 15 is excellent and well-presented. I am not sure if Figure 9.12 shows a fire-bellied toad though. His belly is the wrong color. The chapters on disease were excellent!
I like the use of workplace examples that allow the reader to relate the material to requirements of their profession like on p. 65 and 66 where the example takes the reader through how to answer a supervisor's question about population. I also liked the example of pollination mutualism because it shows how even the natural world has built-in imperfections. Raindrops on rooftops is also a relatable image and situation for students to understand. And my favorite would be the cavitation of the Pistol Crab.
p. 69 Good examples like the car driving down the road to exemplify the delay in feedback between stimulus and response. Also, P. 15 Great quote: “If you have a complex natural system you don't understand, and you construct a computer model incorporating everything you can about that natural system, you now have two systems you don't understand. |after Chris Payola, UMN” The language that is used is informal and relatable for students most of the time.
Having to jump back and forth between figures and explanations is clunky but would work better if you had two monitors. All formulas were presented in a clear and consistent fashion.
I think the textbook has done a good job of breaking up formulas by having examples, figures, and photographs also available. There are lots of great visual examples that are beautiful and effective. There is also enough variety between types of graphs, line drawings, photos, etc. Figure 12.4 is a beautiful one. The chapters are broken down into smaller sections that are numbered accordingly in a system that is easy to understand. It is easy to refer back to earlier figures.
Nice pictures like page like 11.7 (Mandlebrot) 4.1 on page 34 and figure 9.9 on page 106. These give the mathematical formulas life and relevancy. Figure 9.13 showing camouflage is effective. The visual examples are fantastic.
I thought the organization was intuitive and kept the flow conversational and intersting.
Having to jump back and forth between figures and explanations is clunky but would work better if you had two monitors. In figure 9.8, the Heron picture threw me off. I was expecting a figure of a dog given the example but then the Heron example was given below so it eventually made sense. Figure 12.1 is fun but a little grainy. P. 195 has an overlapping word in the first paragraph of the harvesting intensity formula.
There are some missing words, extra words, misplaced words, and incorrect spacing after punctuation. Here is an example on Page V early on in the book: “some textbooks assume believe there is enough inevitable formality in the mathematics and computer code already, and we wish to make up for that.” Another one occurs on page 70: “No! The rest of this chapter will walk you through how to it.” It is missing the word, "do." On page 105, it would be better to say that the Stonefish is shown on the lower right instead of "right."
P. 238 "Largely because of thjis,
Hard to assess this category as the examples are of flowers, insects, and animals but the examples are broad and effective. Many different examples are provided with pictures. Perhaps plants and examples from other cultures could be added.
P. 7 Love this: “A large part of science turns out to be serendipity(luck and chance|) capitalizing on chance and
doing something with it.”
Figure 7.7 was interesting too. I did not know that Marie Curie had won the Nobel prize twice.
P. 212 The need to exercise might actually be a behavior modification meant to spread a disease! Fun!
The book begins with an overview of ecology and mathematical modeling. It provides many examples throughout. I marked it down to four because the majority of the text focuses on the population and community levels with little content at the... read more
The book begins with an overview of ecology and mathematical modeling. It provides many examples throughout. I marked it down to four because the majority of the text focuses on the population and community levels with little content at the ecosystem level. On the other hand, it is highly comprehensive within population and community ecology and includes human ecology.
I did not notice any inaccurate content and it incorporates many examples.
Many of the main concepts and examples are relatively classic and likely will not become obsolete anytime soon. Newer examples could easily be incorporated. It provides coding that are relevant for R but the examples could be updated if a different program becomes widely used. Much of the text provides conceptual descriptions of the codes so that would not have to be updated if a different program were to be used.
With a quantitative biology textbook, it is easy to get caught up on the technical jargon, but this textbook fully explains the concepts without much jargon, making it relatively easy to understand. Any jargon used is limited to the essential terminology and is well explained.
Many of the equations build on previous ones in the book, making it consistent. I did not notice any inconsistent use of terms or framework.
Most sections of a chapter are just a few pages long- given that the text is fairly large, this is not very long. The table of contents is also clickable, so it is easy for students to go to just the assigned sections. Many of the equations build on chapter 3 (a basic population model) and chapter 4 (modeling a single population), so it is difficult to teach later equations without these chapters, but this is standard in ecology. Many of the later chapters are understandable if just linked with chapters 3 and 4. A few chapters are more conceptual rather than quantitative, and they could serve as stand-alone chapters.
The text starts with basic background on ecology and modeling. The quantitative piece begins with basic models and becomes more complex throughout the book. Population ecology is described before community ecology, which is the norm.
It is a PDF document and I did not have any issues with reading it on my PC. The preface explains that the authors chose the particular text size so that it formatted well with mobile devices and computers and can still be printed. The sampled links are not broken.
The only grammatical error I noticed was one in the preface. Otherwise, I did not notice any issues.
The text is not culturally insensitive by any means. I reduced the score because many of the examples are from the United States, except for some classic international examples. The majority of pictured humans are white.
This textbook provides a thorough yet easily followed description of quantitative ecology. Some of the chapters are suitable for an introductory organismal biology course while much of it may be better suited for an upper-level ecology course.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1. What is ecology?
- Chapter 2. Ecological theory
- Chapter 3. A basic population model
- Chapter 4. Modeling a single population
- Chapter 5. Differential and difference forms
- Chapter 6. Human population growth
- Chapter 7. Chaos and randomness
- Chapter 8. Theory of interactions
- Chapter 9. Embodied by natural selection
- Chapter 10. Phase space
- Chapter 11. State spaces
- Chapter 12. Predator and prey
- Chapter 13. Humans as predators
- Chapter 14. Humans as prey
- Chapter 15. Theory of disease
- Chapter 16. Competition
- Chapter 17. Mutualism
- Chapter 18. Higher-order models
About the Book
Quantitative Ecology introduces and discusses the principles of ecology from populations to ecosystems including human populations, disease, exotic organisms, habitat fragmentation, biodiversity and global dynamics. The book also reformulates and unifies ecological equations making them more accessible to the reader and easier to teach.
About the Contributors