The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Lack of quantitative training among early-career ecologists: a survey of the problem and potential solutions

Lack of quantitative training among early-career ecologists: a survey of the problem and potential solutions
Lack of quantitative training among early-career ecologists: a survey of the problem and potential solutions
Proficiency in mathematics and statistics is essential to modern ecological science, yet few studies have assessed the level of quantitative training received by ecologists. To do so, we conducted an online survey. The 937 respondents were mostly early-career scientists who studied biology as undergraduates. We found a clear self-perceived lack of quantitative training: 75% were not satisfied with their understanding of mathematical models; 75% felt that the level of mathematics was “too low” in their ecology classes; 90% wanted more mathematics classes for ecologists; and 95% more statistics classes. Respondents thought that 30% of classes in ecology-related degrees should be focused on quantitative disciplines, which is likely higher than for most existing programs. The main suggestion to improve quantitative training was to relate theoretical and statistical modeling to applied ecological problems. Improving quantitative training will require dedicated, quantitative classes for ecology-related degrees that contain good mathematical and statistical practice.
education, statistics, mathematics, ecology student, teaching, university curriculum, student
2167-8359
e285
Barraquand, Frédéric
99cd8096-919d-48d7-91d8-4054b5f8a456
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Jørgensen, Peter S.
bf17c99f-6a28-4afa-8013-e0b0c756b964
Zimmerman, Naupaka
f51e0165-1b29-4acb-9fca-90be2e64876c
Chamberlain, Scott
0b459b39-99e6-40b6-9583-060487b5af8e
Salguero-Gómez, Roberto
1e31b37c-2be6-45e0-bad7-a432cdd425c3
Curran, Timothy J.
edd850e4-aa71-42db-880f-304026749123
Poisot, Timothée
553424e7-469c-4197-8b61-210a492b0dae
Barraquand, Frédéric
99cd8096-919d-48d7-91d8-4054b5f8a456
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Jørgensen, Peter S.
bf17c99f-6a28-4afa-8013-e0b0c756b964
Zimmerman, Naupaka
f51e0165-1b29-4acb-9fca-90be2e64876c
Chamberlain, Scott
0b459b39-99e6-40b6-9583-060487b5af8e
Salguero-Gómez, Roberto
1e31b37c-2be6-45e0-bad7-a432cdd425c3
Curran, Timothy J.
edd850e4-aa71-42db-880f-304026749123
Poisot, Timothée
553424e7-469c-4197-8b61-210a492b0dae

Barraquand, Frédéric, Ezard, Thomas H.G., Jørgensen, Peter S., Zimmerman, Naupaka, Chamberlain, Scott, Salguero-Gómez, Roberto, Curran, Timothy J. and Poisot, Timothée (2014) Lack of quantitative training among early-career ecologists: a survey of the problem and potential solutions. PeerJ, 2, e285. (doi:10.7717/peerj.285). (PMID:24688862)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Proficiency in mathematics and statistics is essential to modern ecological science, yet few studies have assessed the level of quantitative training received by ecologists. To do so, we conducted an online survey. The 937 respondents were mostly early-career scientists who studied biology as undergraduates. We found a clear self-perceived lack of quantitative training: 75% were not satisfied with their understanding of mathematical models; 75% felt that the level of mathematics was “too low” in their ecology classes; 90% wanted more mathematics classes for ecologists; and 95% more statistics classes. Respondents thought that 30% of classes in ecology-related degrees should be focused on quantitative disciplines, which is likely higher than for most existing programs. The main suggestion to improve quantitative training was to relate theoretical and statistical modeling to applied ecological problems. Improving quantitative training will require dedicated, quantitative classes for ecology-related degrees that contain good mathematical and statistical practice.

Text
Lack of quantitative training among early-career ecologists a survey of the problem and potential solutions [PeerJ].htm - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (211kB)

More information

Published date: 2014
Keywords: education, statistics, mathematics, ecology student, teaching, university curriculum, student
Organisations: Centre for Biological Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377222
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377222
ISSN: 2167-8359
PURE UUID: c73f8bd7-8177-451b-be9f-a1ecbf6d648b
ORCID for Thomas H.G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Jun 2015 11:27
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:39

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Frédéric Barraquand
Author: Thomas H.G. Ezard ORCID iD
Author: Peter S. Jørgensen
Author: Naupaka Zimmerman
Author: Scott Chamberlain
Author: Roberto Salguero-Gómez
Author: Timothy J. Curran
Author: Timothée Poisot

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×