Marin Bay, Possession Island, Crozet Archipelago - photo courtesy of F. Stephen Dobson

 

 

 

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CENTENNIAL SPECIAL: NOTABLE PAPERS: Ecology: Archive

 

[also see Notable papers for Ecological Monographs, Ecological Applications, Frontiers and Ecosphere]

As part of ESA’s Centennial celebration we are looking back at some of the most notable papers published in ESA journals, since Ecology first rolled out the presses in 1920. All these papers will be freely available through the end of 2016.

Only “objective” measures were used to make these selections. The listed articles for each journal are weighted 90% by their number of citations. Since newer papers have not had the opportunity to gather as many citations, 10% of the weight is given to the relative number of times an article has been accessed online. Those with a very high number of downloads are likely to be more cited in the future, and thus adding the 10% weighting helps to bring in some of the relatively more recent standouts. After applying this metric, the papers are listed in chronological order for each journal. The total number on the list for each journal is roughly in proportion to the number of papers published in the lifetime of that journal.

Citations and downloads are not guaranteed measures of quality, but the high-scorers are likely to be articles which have had significant impact on the science of ecology. The lists are a starting point for reflection and discussion. We’d like to invite your observations on the value of these papers, whether it’s an observation on the impact of the article, or how things have evolved in that field, to a personal reflection, or even an explanation on why a particular article has been over-rated/over-cited. The lists were first sent to past and present presidents and editors of the journals who were invited to submit commentaries, some of which are accompanying the lists. Now is your opportunity. We invite members to submit short commentaries on these articles. We will publish as many as we can in a rotating fashion, and hope to also keep a list of previous entries. Send your contributions (one short paragraph please) related to a particular article to esa_pubs@cornell.edu with the subject line “Centennial special”. If there happens to be a figure or other image associated with the paper, or even an image evocative of the paper, or your commentary, please send that along as well. We have space for one image per journal, and it can be switched out periodically. It’s not necessary to suggest an image though.

Hope you can find something among these to comment on, as we reflect on where we have been in ecology and where we are going.

 



The Trophic-Dynamic Aspect of Ecology
Raymond L. Lindeman
Ecology, Volume 23, Issue 4 (October 1942) pp. 399-417
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Measures of the Amount of Ecologic Association Between Species
Lee R. Dice
Ecology, Volume 26, Issue 3 (July 1945) pp. 297-302
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Commonness, And Rarity, of Species
F. W. Preston
Ecology, Volume 29, Issue 3 (July 1948) pp. 254-283
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Distance to Nearest Neighbor as a Measure of Spatial Relationships in Populations
Philip J. Clark, Francis C. Evans
Ecology, Volume 35, Issue 4 (October 1954) pp. 445-453
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Fluctuations of Animal Populations and a Measure of Community Stability
Robert MacArthur
Ecology, Volume 36, Issue 3 (July 1955) pp. 533-536
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Use of Distance Measures in Phytosociological Sampling
Grant Cottam, J. T. Curtis
Ecology, Volume 37, Issue 3 (July 1956) pp. 451-460
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Population Ecology of Some Warblers of Northeastern Coniferous Forests
Robert H. MacArthur
Ecology,Volume 39, Issue 4 (October 1958) pp. 599-619
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Sixty years ago Robert MacArthur ventured into spruce woods in Maine and Vermont to study five species of warblers “…with the aim of determining the factors controlling the species’ abundances and preventing all but one from being exterminated by competition.” His success in doing so can be found in almost any ecology textbook. Turn to the section on competition. You will almost certainly find a version of his famous imagery on warbler feeding positions. The illustrations are, to this day, remarkable examples of niche partitioning that promotes coexistence. The study is immortalized in numerous testimonials by prominent scientists who were privileged to know and work with MacArthur. Most of those testimonials highlight the article’s breadth, logic, and elimination of competing hypotheses. They praise skilled and patient natural history (determined and persistent might be more apt “…a large number of hours of watching result in disappointingly few seconds of worthwhile observations.”). But when I contemplate this seminal paper I am drawn to figure 1. [see above right] “The necessary conditions for a stable equilibrium of two species.” This prescient, understated figure represents, at least as much as the others, MacArthur’s legacy.

~~ Douglas Morris, Lakehead University. December 10, 2015

 

Saturated Solutions For the Control of Humidity in Biological Research
Paul W. Winston, Donald H. Bates
Ecology, Volume 41, Issue 1 (January 1960) pp. 232-237
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

On Bird Species Diversity
Robert H. MacArthur, John W. MacArthur
Ecology, Volume 42, Issue 3 (July 1961) pp. 594-598
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Influence of Interspecific Competition and Other Factors on the Distribution of the Barnacle Chthamalus Stellatus
Joseph H. Connell
Ecology, Volume 42, Issue 4 (October 1961) pp. 710-723
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

During my time as an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, I took a marine ecology course that involved traveling to and camping out at various sites along the Gulf of California over the course of the summer. Our instructor was Dr. Donald A. Thompson (nicknamed DAT) and the year was 1978. We were all sitting in a circle near a rocky-intertidal zone one evening, and DAT asked if we could suggest hypotheses for why the barnacles were distributed the way that they were. In particular, a species of Chthamalus was distributed in a narrow zone at the top of the intertidal, in the area of wave splash and extreme high tides. I raised my hand at one point and mentioned that someone named "McConnell" had done experiments that showed that the upper limit of the distribution was probably caused by abiotic factors, whereas the lower limit was caused by biotic factors - mainly interspecific competition with another larger, faster growing barnacle species that undercut, crushed, or smothered even two-year old Chthamalus. Larger barnacle species existed lower in the intertidal than Chthamalus on the rocks near the hot beach we were camped, so it seemed possible that the processes "McConnell" found to influence Chthamalus distribution on the coast of Scotland might also be occurring in the Gulf of California.

DAT responded in two ways. First, he noted that the author's name was Connell, not McConnell, and that everyone sitting in the circle would do well to remember that. I can almost hear him saying something like "Scientists are people too. They work hard. The least you can do is remember their names." This hit me hard. I had read the paper without even ruminating on the fact that an actual person had done the work. It was no different from reading a textbook account to me until DAT pointed out otherwise.

DAT's second response was to comment on the science in the 14-page paper Connell published in October of 1961. He noted that Connell had done experiments in the field to determine whether competition among species was something that affected the distribution of species in nature, and that this work had transformed the field of population and community ecology, both in terms of how research was conducted and our understanding of ecological processes. This led to my second epiphany of the day: experimentation is a powerful tool in the hands of scientists (...who are real people). Rereading the first paragraph of Connell's 1961 paper now, I see the truth of DAT's statement. Connell wrote "Most of the evidence for the occurrence of interspecific competition in animals has been gained from laboratory populations. Because of the small amount of direct evidence for its occurrence in nature, competition has sometimes been assigned a minor role in determining the composition of animal communities." That anyone could think to write such a statement now is pretty much inconceivable. Connell was clearly at the forefront of the tide of research documenting the importance of competition in structuring communities.

I am not a marine-intertidal community ecologist, although I did toy briefly with the idea, but I am a scientist. And I think that my reading of Connell's paper, together with DAT's mentoring of the group sitting on the beach, contributed to my choice of career. Thanks for writing that paper Joe.

~~ Lynda Delph, Indiana University. July 16, 2015

 

The Canonical Distribution of Commonness and Rarity: Part I
F. W. Preston
Ecology, Volume 43, Issue 2 (April 1962) pp. 185-215
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Energy Storage and the Balance of Producers and Decomposers in Ecological Systems
Jerry S. Olson
Ecology, Volume 44, Issue 2 (April 1963) pp. 322-331
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Anolis Lizards of Bimini: Resource Partitioning in a Complex Fauna
Thomas W. Schoener
Ecology, Volume 49, Issue 4 (July 1968) pp. 704-726
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Nonsynchronous Spatial Overlap of Lizards in Patchy Habitats
Thomas W. Schoener
Ecology, Volume 51, Issue 3 (May 1970) pp. 408-418
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Seasonal Changes in Oak Leaf Tannins and Nutrients as a Cause of Spring Feeding by Winter Moth Caterpillars
Paul Feeny
Ecology, Volume 51, Issue 4 (July 1970) pp. 565-581
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The papers on this list are notable for their high citation rates; another measure of whether a paper is influential is the diversity of citations – the number of fields a paper informs or inspires. Paul Feeny’s 1970 paper was published at a time when several big questions about the ecological and evolutionary interactions between plants and insect herbivores remained unanswered. How are plant and herbivore populations regulated? What is the defensive role of plant chemical and physical traits? Do insects evolve in response to these plant traits, and vice versa? Feeny’s paper was not the first to raise these questions, but his detailed, comprehensive study of winter moths and their oak hosts stands out for touching on all of these really foundational questions, and integrating them. Feeny set out to determine what caused the evolution of winter moth larvae to feed early rather than late in the season, thus posing a question about selection. But he also phrased this as a question about what regulates insect populations at a time when Hairston, Smith and Slobodkin had just forcefully argued that herbivorous insects are primarily controlled by predators. He answered his question with detailed work on plant traits (physical, chemical, nutritional and phenological) and their effects on the herbivore. While the fields of insect population ecology, chemical ecology, and evolution of plant resistance have subsequently developed into large research fields of their own, works from each of these fields often refer back to this paper as an important early contribution. Reading this paper led us to consider how these areas are or should be reintegrated (for example under the guise of eco-evolutionary dynamics, or to help us understand the consequences of changing phenologies with climate change).

This paper is a careful dissection of ideas, backed by a variety of experiments and a lot of data. While simpler papers with controversial claims are often remembered for the fervor they incite, Feeny’s approach invokes a more subtle style of doing science, and the attention his study has generated is an encouraging sign that quiet, elegant science can still have a big impact by influencing multiple areas of thought and reminding us of their commonalities.

Of course, the paper was also influential for presenting the design of the penetrometer, a beautifully simple and now-standard method for measuring leaf toughness.

~~ David McNutt, Jessie Mutz, Andrew Merwin, Brian Inouye, Nora Underwood, Florida State University. December 19, 2015


On the Measurement of Niche Breadth and Overlap
Robert K. Colwell, Douglas J. Futuyma
Ecology, Volume 52, Issue 4 (July 1971) pp. 567-576
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Nonconcept of Species Diversity: A Critique and Alternative Parameters
Stuart H. Hurlbert
Ecology, Volume 52, Issue 4 (July 1971) pp. 577-586
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Diversity and Evenness: A Unifying Notation and Its Consequences
M. O. Hill
Ecology, Volume 54, Issue 2 (March 1973) pp. 427-432
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Optimal Foraging and the Size Selection of Prey by the Bluegill Sunfish (Lepomis Macrochirus)
Earl E. Werner, Donald J. Hall
Ecology, Volume 55, Issue 5 (August 1974) pp. 1042-1052
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Turnover Rates in Insular Biogeography: Effect of Immigration on Extinction
James H. Brown, Astrid Kodric-Brown
Ecology, Volume 58, Issue 2 (March 1977) pp. 445-449
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Comparison of Usage and Availability Measurements for Evaluating Resource Preference
Douglas H. Johnson
Ecology, Volume 61, Issue 1 (February 1980) pp. 65-71
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Habitat Structural Complexity and the Interaction Between Bluegills and Their Prey
Larry B. Crowder, William E. Cooper
Ecology, Volume 63, Issue 6 (December 1982) pp. 1802-1813
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Despite the fact that ecologists knew, theoretically, that structural complexity of the environment must impact interactions between predators and prey, this was among the first field experiments to examine these interactions.

Our experiment had so many outcomes showing that habitat complexity mediates predator-prey interactions. Habitat complexity influences feeding rates, diet diversity, and growth rates of predators; it tends to stabilize predator-prey interactions by providing refuges for prey. The experiments also provided early evidence for direct and indirect effects of predation. Fish eat large, mobile invertebrate predators, allowing smaller invertebrates to actually increase in the face of fish predation.

Disaster averted! We were setting up the experiment for over a month and about to stock the fish into the ponds when we experienced a huge rainfall event (3.5 inches) that flooded the ponds overtopping the fences! Had we stocked the fish earlier, fish might have invaded the control sections of the ponds compromising the experiment. This was a scary moment!

~~ Larry Crowder, Stanford University. July 15, 2015


Nitrogen and Lignin Control of Hardwood Leaf Litter Decomposition Dynamics
Jerry M. Melillo, John D. Aber, John F. Muratore
Ecology, Volume 63, Issue 3 (June 1982) pp. 621-626
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

An Experimental Test of the Effects of Predation Risk on Habitat Use in Fish
Earl E. Werner, James F. Gilliam, Donald J. Hall, Gary G. Mittelbach
Ecology, Volume 64, Issue 6 (December 1983) pp. 1540-1548
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Nutrient Dynamics in an Agricultural Watershed: Observations on the Role of A Riparian Forest
William T. Peterjohn, David L. Correll
Ecology, Volume 65, Issue 5 (October 1984) pp. 1466-1475
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Canonical Correspondence Analysis: A New Eigenvector Technique for Multivariate Direct Gradient Analysis
Cajo J. F. ter Braak
Ecology, Volume 67, Issue 5 (October 1986) pp. 1167-1179
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Kernel Methods for Estimating the Utilization Distribution in Home-Range Studies
B. J. Worton
Ecology, Volume 70, Issue 1 (February 1989) pp. 164-168
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Playing Chutes and Ladders - Heterogeneity and the Relative Roles of Bottom-up and Top-down Forces in Natural Communities
Hunter, MD; Price, PW
Ecology, Volume 73, Issue 3 (June 1992) pp. 724-732
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Partialling out the Spatial Component of Ecological Variation
Daniel Borcard, Pierre Legendre, Pierre Drapeau
Ecology, Volume 73, Issue 3 (June 1992) pp. 1045-1055
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

The Problem of Pattern and Scale in Ecology: The Robert H. MacArthur Award Lecture
Simon A. Levin
Ecology, Volume 73, Issue 6 (December 1992) pp. 1943-1967
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

When Simon Levin won the Robert MacArthur Award in 1990, he delivered this paper at the 75th annual meeting of the ESA in Snowbird, Utah. I, one of Simon's grad students at Cornell, was familiar with the themes he raised in this presentation, for he incorporated them into many of his lectures and seminars that I had the privilege to attend. Indeed, Simon's work resonated very strongly with themes developed by other systems thinkers at the time, including the Odum brothers, Bob O'Neill, Buzz Holling, and Don deAngelis, among others. However, few could capture these ideas as succinctly as did Simon in this paper. As he wrote, "What was the thread, if any, that had guided my wanderings? In retrospect, it was clear that a fascination with scale had underlain all these efforts; it is, I will argue, the fundamental conceptual problem in ecology, if not in all of science." He admonishes (as he did in his mentoring) not to try to include everything in models of ecological problems, but rather to simplify and find the essence. The paper proceeds as a sweeping review of a dizzying array of topics that Simon had been involved with, from evolutionary problems to global change. Indeed, Simon demonstrated ably that a scientist can fruitfully understand ecological patterns and process at many scales, and encouraged ecologists to meld theory with empirical study. This paper has long legs; I still give it to my own grad students to read.

~~ Karin E. Limburg, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. July 15, 2015

 

Compositional Analysis of Habitat Use From Animal Radio-Tracking Data
Nicholas J. Aebischer, Peter A. Robertson, Robert E. Kenward
Ecology, Volume 74, Issue 5 (July 1993) pp. 1313-1325
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Spatial Autocorrelation: Trouble or New Paradigm?
Pierre Legendre
Ecology, Volume 74, Issue 6 (September 1993) pp. 1659-1673
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Beyond Global Warming: Ecology and Global Change
Peter M. Vitousek
Ecology, Volume 75, Issue 7 (October 1994) pp. 1861-1876
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Competition and Biodiversity in Spatially Structured Habitats
David Tilman
Ecology, Volume 75, Issue 1 (January 1994) pp. 2-16
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Tilman's influential 1994 paper "Competition and biodiversity in spatially structured habitats" came out just as I was starting to think seriously about models of biodiversity. This paper extends classic work on coexistence by Horn & MacArthur, Levins & Culver, and Hastings, and paralleled contemporary papers on pathogens by May & Nowak. With this pedigree, it was hard to imagine that there was anything left to be done, let alone something amiss with the theory, but the serendipitous appearance of a Spanish graduate student who needed a project (he was really visiting to keep close to his girlfriend) spurred me to try to pinpoint what bugged me about Tilman's results. The prediction of infinite coexistence from a simple competition-colonization tradeoff model felt pathological, and after many false-starts and internally inconsistent approaches, we came to the realization that the discontinuity of the competition function (species with infinitessimally lower colonization ability would always win in competition) underlay the result. Smoothing this function qualitatively changes the system to support only a few species. To my surprise, the third derivative of this function proved to be the key (and even more suprising, perhaps, is that four other papers in Ecology have, over the years, explicitly mentioned the third derivative). This led me to think carefully about the role of noise and stochasticity in shaping both ecological reality and models, and the challenges we face in applying simplified systems to real data. It is characteristic of Tilman's science that he found a way to provoke thinking about fundamental issues in ecology and ecological theory through creative application and interpretation of a relatively simple model.

~ Frederick R. Adler, University of Utah. July 20, 2015

 

Responses of Arctic Tundra to Experimental and Observed Changes in Climate
F. Stuart Chapin III, Gaius R. Shaver, Anne E. Giblin, Knute J. Nadelhoffer, James A. Laundre
Ecology, Volume 76, Issue 3 (April 1995) pp. 694-711
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Generalization in Pollination Systems, and Why it Matters
Nikolas M. Waser, Lars Chittka, Mary V. Price, Neal M. Williams, Jeff Ollerton
Ecology, Volume 77, Issue 4 (June 1996) pp. 1043-1060
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

What Attributes Make Some Plant Species More Invasive?
Marcel Rejmanek, David M. Richardson
Ecology, Volume 77, Issue 6 (September 1996) pp. 1655-1661
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

An Evaluation of the Accuracy of Kernel Density Estimators for Home Range Analysis
D. Erran Seaman, Roger A. Powell
Ecology, Volume 77, Issue 7 (October 1996) pp. 2075-2085
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

Biodiversity: Population Versus Ecosystem Stability
David Tilman
Ecology, Volume 77, Issue 2 (March 1996) pp. 350-363
Abstract | Full Text at JSTOR

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF ORGANISMS AS PHYSICAL ECOSYSTEM ENGINEERS
Clive G. Jones, John H. Lawton, Moshe Shachak
Ecology, Volume 78, Issue 7 (October 1997) pp. 1946-1957
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (105 KB)

So much of what I read about ecosystem ecology in graduate school revolved around abiotic drivers. In their seminal Ecology paper “Positive and negative effects of organisms as physical ecosystem engineers” Clive Jones and colleagues emphasized that organisms could modulate these abiotic forces via physical changes in ecosystem structure and thus control energy flows. From the classic example of a beaver’s dam to the ubiquitous influence of tree root production, ecosystem engineers create new habitats and alter provision of water and nutrients. Jones et al. (1997), which now has over 1500 citations, established the idea that organisms could impact ecosystem processes outside of trophic interactions and thus, helped spawn current ecological work in areas like plant-soil interactions and invasion biology.

I was so struck by Jones’ decisive and thoughtful ideas that I emailed him about my graduate work, which focused on biotic drivers of ecosystem processes. He emailed this lowly graduate student right back and engaged me in an email discussion that helped shape my future research foci. Perhaps the best, and most humbling, thing one can say about a classic paper is that when you read it, most of the “new” ideas you’re thinking about are already in there. The best thing you can say about its eminent lead author is that he’s used these great ideas to influence the next generation of scientists both directly and indirectly.

~~ Samantha Chapman, Villanova University. July 16, 2015


COMPETITION AND FACILITATION: A SYNTHETIC APPROACH TO INTERACTIONS IN PLANT COMMUNITIES
Ragan M. Callaway, Lawrence R. Walker
Ecology, Volume 78, Issue 7 (October 1997) pp. 1958-1965
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (105 KB)

THE ECOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGES IN BIODIVERSITY: A SEARCH FOR GENERAL PRINCIPLES
David Tilman
Ecology, Volume 80, Issue 5 (July 1999) pp. 1455-1474
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (257 KB)

GLOBAL PATTERNS OF PLANT INVASIONS AND THE CONCEPT OF INVASIBILITY
W. M. Lonsdale
Ecology, Volume 80, Issue 5 (July 1999) pp. 1522-1536
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (178 KB)

CLASSIFICATION AND REGRESSION TREES: A POWERFUL YET SIMPLE TECHNIQUE FOR ECOLOGICAL DATA ANALYSIS
Glenn De'ath, Katharina E. Fabricius
Ecology, Volume 81, Issue 11 (November 2000) pp. 3178-3192
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (225 KB)

WHAT IS THE OBSERVED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPECIES RICHNESS AND PRODUCTIVITY?
Gary G. Mittelbach, Christopher F. Steiner, Samuel M. Scheiner, Katherine L. Gross, Heather L. Reynolds, Robert B. Waide, Michael R. Willig, Stanley I. Dodson, Laura Gough
Ecology, Volume 82, Issue 9 (September 2001) pp. 2381-2396
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (267 KB)

FITTING MULTIVARIATE MODELS TO COMMUNITY DATA: A COMMENT ON DISTANCE-BASED REDUNDANCY ANALYSIS
Brian H. McArdle, Marti J. Anderson
Ecology, Volume 82, Issue 1 (January 2001) pp. 290-297
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (113 KB)

ESTIMATING SITE OCCUPANCY RATES WHEN DETECTION PROBABILITIES ARE LESS THAN ONE
Darryl I. MacKenzie, James D. Nichols, Gideon B. Lachman, Sam Droege, J. Andrew Royle, Catherine A. Langtimm
Ecology, Volume 83, Issue 8 (August 2002) pp. 2248-2255
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (161 KB)

Ecological theory, and our understanding of the larger principles of ecology, is motivated, and largely guided by perceived patterns in the distribution and abundance of organisms. This theory typically involves processes underlying the dynamics of these quantities. And yet, despite a century of empirically-based ecological research, the rate of advancement of our understanding of ecology has been limited in many instances by a near-ubiquitous problem - the failure to account for significant challenges in sampling biological populations/communities, and uncertainty in mapping the "observation state" (what we see) with the "biological process", which is what we're hoping to characterize, and understand. Much of what we think we "know" in ecology is based on the tacit assumption that the observed patterns reflect "interesting ecology", and not an interaction of the ecological processes with sampling considerations. This is a general consideration that spans all of ecological science -- studies of species-area relationships, island biogeography, dispersal theory, variation in fundamental demographic rates, virtually all models (and theory) related to population and community dynamics, are all affected by this consideration.

One particular example where the problem is potentially acute relates to the use of what are known as "presence-absence" data -- such data are often collected at less expense, and over much greater temporal and spatial scales than other data types, and have served as the basis for a considerable proportion of ecological theory, particularly with respect to spatial, community and macroecology. Historical use of such data made the implicit assumption that the observed count or presence/absence data faithfully reflected the state variables of interest and the underlying ecological processes responsible for their dynamics. But, what if the recorded "absence" was not due to "interesting ecology", but instead represented a "false absence" -- the "absence" of a species in a particular location, or point in time, reflected a sampling artifact of the probability of detection being less than 1.0? Perhaps the "absence" is, in fact, a simple "failure to detect". This seminal paper by Darryl MacKenzie and colleagues developed an intuitive, yet supremely elegant way to account for sampling uncertainty for "presence/absence" data (or, since this paper, more correctly referenced as "detected/non-detected"). The publication of this first "occupancy" paper was very much a watershed moment -- this paper directly precipitated a huge body of subsequent research, both in terms of the development of the method(s), but also in terms of applications to key and important questions in ecology, at several scales. The ideas in this paper are simple, yet fundamental -- verging on canonical (both conceptually, and mechanistically), in the sense that it is now hard to imagine any empirically-based study of pattern and process in species occurrence or distribution that doesn't borrow strongly from the ideas, and in many cases, the methods, that were first described here."

~~ Evan G. Cooch, Cornell University. December 11, 2015


USING STABLE ISOTOPES TO ESTIMATE TROPHIC POSITION: MODELS, METHODS, AND ASSUMPTIONS
David M. Post
Ecology, Volume 83, Issue 3 (March 2002) pp. 703-718
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (258 KB)

ENERGY, WATER, AND BROAD-SCALE GEOGRAPHIC PATTERNS OF SPECIES RICHNESS
Bradford A. Hawkins, Richard Field, Howard V. Cornell, David J. Currie, Jean-François Guégan, Dawn M. Kaufman, Jeremy T. Kerr, Gary G. Mittelbach, Thierry Oberdorff, Eileen M. O'Brien, Eric E. Porter, John R. G. Turner
Ecology, Volume 84, Issue 12 (December 2003) pp. 3105-3117
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (195 KB)

TOWARD A METABOLIC THEORY OF ECOLOGY
James H. Brown, James F. Gillooly, Andrew P. Allen, Van M. Savage, Geoffrey B. West
Ecology, Volume 85, Issue 7 (July 2004) pp. 1771-1789
Abstract | Full Text | PDF (575 KB)

 

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