Environmental - Sampling

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Ecological and Environmental Sampling

taught by Bryan Manly

Aim of Course:

This online course, "Ecological and Environmental Sampling" covers sampling methods and analyses used to study the density and abundance of animals and plants, and other important biological variables. It starts with classic random sampling methods and their extensions (systematic sampling, stratified sampling and more), and goes on to cover methods (such as adaptive sampling, mark recapture, line transects, and more) that have particular applicability to estimating population sizes. The theoretical basis behind methods is discussed, but the emphasis of the course is on understanding how to use methods effectively rather than the derivation of the equations used.

This course may be taken individually (one-off) or as part of a certificate program.

Course Program:

WEEK 1: Standard Survey Sampling Methods

  • Introduction to ecological sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling for the estimation of population means, totals and proportions
  • Stratified sampling
  • Systematic sampling
  • Other specialized sampling strategies

WEEK 2: Other Specialized Sampling Methods

  • Adaptive sampling methods
  • Line transect sampling
  • Removal and change in ratio methods

WEEK 3: Plotless Sampling and Mark-Recapture Methods

  • T-square, wandering-quarter and related sampling methods
  • Closed population methods
  • introduction to methods for open populations

WEEK 4: Occupancy Models, Environmental Monitoring and Trend Analyses

  • Occupancy
  • Environmental monitoring designs
  • Models for trend analyses


Homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concepts, guided data analysis problems using software, and guided data modeling problems using software.

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has Discussion tasks.

Ecological and Environmental Sampling

Who Should Take This Course:

Environmental scientists, ecologists and other field scientists working with population and density data. Statisticians and biometricians called upon to work on environmental studies, who are not already familiar with the wide variety of specific sampling methods used to estimate populations and densities.



You should be familiar with introductory statistics.  Try these self tests to check your knowledge.

Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for 4 weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement:
About 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:

  1. You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course,  CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.

Course Text:

This course is based the text "Introduction to Ecological Sampling".


The instructor will provide access to two mark-recapture programs for student use.  Excel will also be used.

Ecological and Environmental Sampling

February 17, 2017 to March 17, 2017February 09, 2018 to March 09, 2018

Course Fee: $589