Anyone with an interest scientific or economic in natural resources and the environment. Natural systems are complex and heterogeneous – if you want to work in or research these systems you need to understand how to collect and interpret statistical data. Instruction is aimed at sophomores and juniors that have completed linear math or precalculus (M115 or M151). FOR 201 or an equivalent statistics course is required of all majors in the College of Forestry & Conservation.
Statistical data on natural populations often are central to decision making in sustainable resource management as well as to scientific research. Resource professionals and researchers need to be able to interpret data in a defensible manner and must appreciate the consequences of how those data are collected.
Biometrics is concerned with how we learn about natural systems and populations from empirical data. We will look at the advantages and limitations of various means of i) collecting ecological data; ii) summarizing data using graphical and statistical techniques; iii) interpreting the results of surveys and experiments.
The instructor for the course is David Affleck, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Management and Biometrician for the Montana Forest & Conservation Experiment Station. He draws on international experience in forest biometry and brings into the classroom his research on the development of statistical methods for forestry and ecology.
There are a series of readings covering methods of data collection and analysis. These are accompanied by weekly laboratory assignments that involve computing and interpretation. There is a midterm and a final exam.