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01_homework_3 - Esm 260 - Applied Marine Ecology (Winter...

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Esm 260 - Applied Marine Ecology (Winter 2008) Homework Assignment 3: Due: Wednesday, 11 Feb. Once alternative hypotheses have been developed for a pattern of interest, the next step in the scientific process is to devise research tasks that will show which hypotheses cannot be correct and which are supported by the new evidence. This step involves identifying the predictions of each hypothesis, and determining which of these predictions are critical in distinguishing among the alternative hypotheses. Once these critical predictions have been identified, sets of new observations and experiments can be designed and implemented to ‘test’ which (if any) of the potential explanations are supported. After these new observations and experiments have been completed, the data are analyzed and certain hypotheses can be rejected and (with luck) others can be retained. It almost always is the case that the new information you collect to test the original set of hypotheses will force you to rethink and revise your set of alternative hypotheses, including those that are supported in whole or part by the new evidence. The cycle then continues with you developing and conducting more novel observations and experiments to distinguish among the set of refined hypotheses. Ideally at some point you have collected sufficient evidence to reject most (initially) plausible hypotheses, and are left with just a single explanation that is consistent with all of the evidence. You have not ‘proven’ that this is the explanation; rather, you have not shown it to be false despite critical tests, and therefore you conclude that it is the most probable explanation. Consider again our example of the effect of a kelp forest on the abundance of
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2008 for the course ESM 260 taught by Professor Lenihan during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.

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01_homework_3 - Esm 260 - Applied Marine Ecology (Winter...

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