ORCA General Poster Session

Title

Modern misuse of habitat terminology in ecology

Presenter Information

Jordan TandyFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Biology

Minor

Sociology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Andrea Darracq

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Scientific communication across disciplines depends on individuals having a shared understanding of what a word means. Poorly executed definitions can make interpreting, communicating, and applying the results of research difficult. Habitat is an important term used across ecological disciplines and the use of this term has been addressed in literature on birds and mammals. Both studies found that the use of habitat terminology in scientific journals and agency documents was ambiguous and imprecise. Consequently, the objective of our research was to determine if the issues with the use of habitat terminology in the scientific literature stills exists, 20 years after the seminal publication on this topic in The Journal of Wildlife Management. We collected 40 articles each from The Journal of Wildlife Management and The Journal of Mammalogy, two per year for the past twenty years. We then analyzed their use of the terms ‘habitat’ and ‘habitat type.’ We found that 3% and 5.2% of articles used the term ‘habitat’ correctly, 75% and 50% used it both correctly and incorrectly, and 17.5% and 44.7 % used it completely incorrectly in The Journal of Wildlife Management and The Journal of Mammalogy, respectively. The term habitat type was always used incorrectly in both journals. Clearly, the correct use of habitat terminology in these two journals has not improved in the past twenty years.

Spring Scholars Week 2018 Event

General Poster Session

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Modern misuse of habitat terminology in ecology

Scientific communication across disciplines depends on individuals having a shared understanding of what a word means. Poorly executed definitions can make interpreting, communicating, and applying the results of research difficult. Habitat is an important term used across ecological disciplines and the use of this term has been addressed in literature on birds and mammals. Both studies found that the use of habitat terminology in scientific journals and agency documents was ambiguous and imprecise. Consequently, the objective of our research was to determine if the issues with the use of habitat terminology in the scientific literature stills exists, 20 years after the seminal publication on this topic in The Journal of Wildlife Management. We collected 40 articles each from The Journal of Wildlife Management and The Journal of Mammalogy, two per year for the past twenty years. We then analyzed their use of the terms ‘habitat’ and ‘habitat type.’ We found that 3% and 5.2% of articles used the term ‘habitat’ correctly, 75% and 50% used it both correctly and incorrectly, and 17.5% and 44.7 % used it completely incorrectly in The Journal of Wildlife Management and The Journal of Mammalogy, respectively. The term habitat type was always used incorrectly in both journals. Clearly, the correct use of habitat terminology in these two journals has not improved in the past twenty years.