I’ve just started posting items in my teaching blog (mickteaching.wordpress.com). Some readers might be interested in this post about double sampling – I think it could be used more in research. So I have re-blogged it here.

Michael McCarthy's Teaching

Monitoring plays an important role in environmental management. Ideally, our monitoring will be both precise and accurate. However, the natural environment is variable and only partly observable, so monitoring data collected using typical methods are imprecise, and commonly biased.

For example, imagine we are trying to count the number of hollows in eucalypt trees (Harper et al. 2004). Tree hollows are an important resource for hundreds of animal species, but they are very difficult to count when standing on the ground. Some hollows will remain unobserved, while some mere dents in trees will be counted incorrectly as hollows. Is counting the number of tree hollows from the ground justified?

Of course, an unlimited budget of time, money and expertise would provide data that are both precise and accurate. In the case of counting tree hollows, we could climb every tree, and examine every branch. But that would be…

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About Michael McCarthy

I conduct research on environmental decision making and quantitative ecology. My teaching is mainly at post-grad level at The University of Melbourne.
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