Dr. Mark Gardener

Lecturer: Ecology, Environment and Biometrics

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London Borough of Sutton,
United Kingdom.

Go to My Research Page.

Go to Mark's Open University Students Page

Go to the Open University Science Pages.

Go to the Field Studies Council pages.


This is my homepage. I am an Ecologist and currently teach as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. Currently I teach environmental science and environment but used to tutor ecology before the course was withdrawn. See my OU students page for more background on me and for information relating to the courses I tutor on (currently only S216).

Much of my teaching involves distance learning but I also teach ecology (and environmental science) in the field at residential centres run by the Field Studies Council. As part of these activities I necessarily find myself teaching statistics (here's a page to help decide which statistics test is right for your data).

Over the years I have developed a number of tools to help with the teaching of statistics and the analysis of data. I'm not a programmer but am pretty handy with a spreadsheet and have created a number of packages. These are especially useful for A-Level biology and geography students as well as university undergraduates and those undertaking projects. My Don't Panic Statistics program is designed to help teach and learn statistics (as well as being handy for your project). I also teach R, the statistical programming language. This is a free and open source project; see my R pages. See also my page on Tips, Tricks & Hints for R and Excel.

New: I am working on a guide to statistics, this will be available solely online.

I also write textbooks on ecology and data analysis – see my Publications Page.

My Research:

My academic research has been in the area of plant-animal interactions, most notably in the area of pollination biology. My PhD was concerned with the chemistry of nectar; how it varied between plants and how animals reacted to the differing compositions. I have worked in many different habitats including: alpine meadow, desert scrub and tropical forest. See My Research page for more details.

A butterfly pollinates a plant.

The Field Studies Council promotes "environmental understanding for all" at it's Field Centres.

Students at Nettlecombe, Field Centre, Somerset.

Ecology and Environmental Science in the Field:

There's nothing like doing practical science to aid your understanding of it. The Open University has been running residential schools in collaboration with the FSC for over 20 years. I have been involved for a bit less than that but have still seen hundreds of students peering into quadrats and trays of freshwater invertebrates.

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Visit my Publications page

My publishers:

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My publications

I am currently writing textbooks. These are mostly on the subject of data analysis one way or another. Current projects are:

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Stats for Ecologists S4E20

Managing Data MDUE20

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Don't Panic Statistics is a tool for teaching and carrying out statistics. Unlike major commercial packages Don't Panic teaches the routines as you undertake them - and for a fraction of the price.

Learn Statistics - Don't Panic:

If you are learning biology, ecology, geography or environmental science then sooner or later you will have to deal with a load of numbers: in short, statistics. I began writing spreadsheets to help myself learn statistics when I was an undergraduate. More recently these routines have been used by undergraduates and A-Level students doing field work. I am not really a programmer but am pretty handy with a spreadsheet. I have produced routines that undertake a variety of statistics including: t-test, z-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, Spearman Rank Correlation, Wilcoxon matched pairs, Chi-squared, Kruskal Wallis, ANOVA. See the Don't Panic page for more details.

The result is called "Don't Panic" and is intended to run a variety of statistical analyses on fairly small data sets. Its strength is the opening menu screen, which guides you to the correct analysis for your data. The calculation steps and formulae used are shown and enable the user to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on. There are also plenty of pop-up boxes to help along the way. In addition to the final result you may produce a variety of editable graphs (e.g. bar chart, box-whisker plot, frequency distribution plot) to help display a summary of the analysis.

Don't Panic runs on most versions of Excel for Windows and Mac and the cost is merely GBP 15.00.

So, if you are a student or an educator and are interested then .

Student's T-test
Mann-Whitney U-test
Spearman Rank
Chi Squared
Linear Regression
Kruskal Wallis
and more...

The Don't Panic routines show all the necessary calculation steps and handy notes as well as providing the answer.

A box and whisker plot is an ideal way to present non-parametric data.

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