Ecological Methods


About this course

Students learn how to analyse hypothesis-centred ecological field research projects on plants, animals, and their environment, with emphasis on the appropriate choice and application of statistical techniques for the analysis of ecological data. The course aims at providing the necessary statistical skills for the data analysis of BSc and MSc thesis projects and will enable the students to be able to understand and critically evaluate the analysis of ecological projects, such as described in scientific publications.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • formulate appropriate null hypotheses for ecological research questions;
  • outline the possibilities, limitations and constraints of the different univariate and multivariate statistical tests, and are able to identify alternative solutions;
  • select the best statistical tool to test the ecological data at hand;
  • analyse ecological data using appropriate statistical procedures;
  • interpret the statistical results in an ecologically meaningful sense;
  • perform both univariate and multivariate analyses.

Teaching method and examination

The final examination consists of three parts that will be marked separately; exemption for individual parts of this examination can be obtained by passing the respective three test during the course. The knowledge of univariate (test 1), multivariate (test 2) and applied statistical tests and their applications (test 3) will be examined separately and individually in three multiple choice tests.
The results of the analyses of the large ecological dataset will be presented in a plenary session using PowerPoint. The presentation of this group assignment will be evaluated based on the clarity and balance of the various components, the appropriateness of the statistical techniques applied, the data analyses, and the ecological interpretation of the results.
Access to tests and exam (parts) can only be obtained if the compulsory attendance conditions (you are allowed to miss a maximum of 2 days of the computer practicals) have been fulfilled.
Each of the four marks contributes equally (25%) to the final mark, and the minimum mark for a pass is 5.50 for all four components.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    2 september 2024

    • Ends
      25 oktober 2024
    • Term *
      Period 1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment starts in 50 days
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University