1.Q1. How could you use the simple linear regression model presented to predict productivity for a grassland site not included in the graph? 2.Q2. What is the predicted productivity for a site with available nitrogen of 5 g/m2/yr? (Use the linear regression equation.)
from the data presented. These figures and tables are labeled Interpreting Ecological Data. (See Figure2.16on page 23for the first example.)1.7 Uncertainty Is an Inherent Feature of ScienceCollecting observations, developing and testing hypotheses, and constructing predictive models all form the backbone of the scientific method (see Figure1.4). It is a continuous process of testing and correcting concepts to arrive at explanations for the variation we observe in the world around us, thus unifying observations that on first inspection seem unconnected. The difference between science and art is that, although both pursuits involve creation of concepts, in science, the exploration of concepts is limited to the facts. In science, the only valid means of judging a concept is by testing its empirical truth.However, scientific concepts have no permanence because they are only our interpretations of natural phenomena. We are limited to inspecting only a part of nature because to understand, we have to simplify. As discussed in Section1.5, in designing experiments, we control the pertinent factors and try to eliminate others that may confuse the results. Our intent is to focus on a subset of nature from which we can establish cause and effect. The trade-off is that whatever cause and effect we succeed in identifying represents only a partial connection to the nature we hope to understand. For that reason, when experiments and observations
support our hypotheses, and when the predictions of the models are verified, our job is still not complete. We work to loosen the constraints imposed by the need to simplify so that we can understand. We expand our hypothesis to cover a broader range of conditions and once again begin testing its ability to explain our new observations.It may sound odd at first, but science is a search for evidence that proves our concepts wrong. Rarely is there only one possible explanation for an observation.
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- Fall '15