Observation and Ecology

Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World

  • Rafe Sagarin
  • Aníbal Pauchard

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
    1. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 1-12
  2. The Role of Observation in Ecological Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 15-28
    3. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 29-44
  3. Using Observations in Ecology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 45-46
    2. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 47-61
    3. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 63-73
  4. The Challenges Posed by an Observational Approach

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 87-88
    2. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 89-108
    3. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 109-130
  5. Beyond Academia: The Power of Observational Approaches

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 131-131
    2. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 133-149
    3. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 151-166
    1. Rafe Sagarin, Aníbal Pauchard
      Pages 167-175
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 161-223

About this book


The need to understand and address large-scale environmental problems that are difficult to study in controlled environments—issues ranging from climate change to overfishing to invasive species—is driving the field of ecology in new and important directions. Observation and Ecology documents that transformation, exploring how scientists and researchers are expanding their methodological toolbox to incorporate an array of new and reexamined observational approaches—from traditional ecological knowledge to animal-borne sensors to genomic and remote-sensing technologies—to track, study, and understand current environmental problems and their implications.

The authors paint a clear picture of what observational approaches to ecology are and where they fit in the context of ecological science. They consider the full range of observational abilities we have available to us and explore the challenges and practical difficulties of using a primarily observational approach to achieve scientific understanding. They also show how observations can be a bridge from ecological science to education, environmental policy, and resource management.

Observations in Ecology can play a key role in understanding our changing planet and the consequences of human activities on ecological processes. This book will serve as an important resource for future scientists and conservation leaders who are seeking a more holistic and applicable approach to ecological science.


Ecology Ecosystems Marine ecology Natural history Observation

Authors and affiliations

  • Rafe Sagarin
    • 1
  • Aníbal Pauchard
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ArizonaUnited States
  2. 2.University of Montana and North Carolina State UniversityUnited States

Bibliographic information

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