Sometimes you read a paper and think “ooh, that’s cool”. As an editor you get the added delight that it’s a manuscript submitted to your journal, so you get to think “ooh, I really want to have that in the journal”. This is followed by “I hope it’s good enough”. At Methods we’ve just published one of those manuscripts where that was my reaction. And it was good enough.
The Tea Bag Index is an innovative, cost-effective, well-standardised method recently covered in MEE, used to gather data on decomposition rate and litter stabilisation using commercially available tea bags as standardised test kits. In this video, David Warton interviews 2 of the authors, Joost Keuskamp and Mariet Hefting from Utrecht University, who explain how it works and what they plan to do with it in the future:
Read the article: Tea Bag Index: a novel approach to collect uniform decomposition data across ecosystems.
Issue 4.11 is now online! This issue includes articles on distance sampling, statistics, survey data, seed dispersal, decomposition, food webs and species diversity. This month we’d like to highlight 2 open access papers: Rapid Bayesian inference of heritability in animal models without convergence problems, by Jon Ahlinder and Mikko J. Sillanpää, and Spatial models for distance sampling data: recent developments and future directions, by David Miller et al. There are also 2 freely available applications: PASTIS: an R package to facilitate phylogenetic assembly with soft taxonomic inferences, by Gavin Thomas et al., and RInSp: an r package for the analysis of individual specialization in resource use, by Nicola Zaccarelli et al.
About the cover: This image shows two tetrahedron-shaped tea bags, which were used as standardised and low-cost test-kits to measure the decomposition dynamics of plant litter. The polyethylene mesh bag is resistant to decomposition, but does not exclude fungi and microorganisms. The bags contain Rooibos tea (LHS) and Green tea (RHS). Rooibos tea is largely comprised of woody plant litter and Green tea is largely comprised of leaf litter. In the accompanying study, “Tea Bag Index: a novel approach to collect uniform decomposition data across ecosystems”, these contrasting litter types were exposed to decomposition by placing them in soil. Using the litter weight-loss, the tea bag index (TBI) was calculated, which allows the comparison of microbial decomposition dynamics on a local, regional and global scale.
Photo© Bas van de Riet.
To keep up to date with Methods newest content, have a look at our Accepted Articles and Early View articles, which will be included in forthcoming issues.
Taking place this week is the joint meeting of the Argentinian Ecological Association and the Chilean Ecological Society. To mark this event, the BES journals would like to highlight some of our South American content to date.
Read the Virtual Issue here: Ecología en América del Sur.
Welcome to our newest Associate Editors!:
Kate Jones from University College London and the Zoological Society of London, and Louise Johnson from the University of Reading.
Click on their photos to read about their research interests:
In this video Todd Jones gives a summary of his recent study, which aims to increase our understanding of the impact that carrying electronic tags can have on aquatic animals. Does the increased drag have power implications? Do the tags themselves affect the behavior of the animals? To answer these questions Todd and his colleagues made cast models of sea turtles and put them in a wind tunnel to record the differences in drag force, with or without tags. They modeled the results to determine the %drag increase caused by different sized tags, and then discussed how much drag is acceptable for an organism before it’s behavior is significantly altered, and also thought about the results from an animal welfare perspective.
Read the article: Calculating the ecological impacts of animal-borne instruments on aquatic organisms.
Read the press release.
Listen to these short podcasts in which Methods‘ Senior Editor, Bob O’Hara, gives a brief overview of the journal, and the Methods blog.
An overview of Methods in Ecology and Evolution:
An overview of the Methods blog:
Recorded at INTECOL 2013 by Wiley’s Marketing Manager, Fraser Hutchinson.
At INTECOL 2013, Methods’ Associate Editor, Barb Anderson, asked a number of delegates: “What is the oldest method that you still use today?”
The answers in this podcast are given by the following people:
- Chris Thomas, University of York, UK (00.40)
- Sue Hartley, University of York, UK (00.46)
- Ken Wilson, Lancaster University, UK (00.53) Continue reading
This week is international Open Access Week, which aims to raise the awareness of open access publishing within the scientific and academic community, and provides an opportunity to hear about its potential benefits and the latest policies and opinions. Institutions and universities from all over the world are involved and there’s an extensive calendar of events that you can have a look at to see what’s happening in your area.
What open access options do Methods and the other BES Journals offer?
In addition to the above open access options, all of our content is made freely available 2 years after publication. We’re also pleased to be able to offer readers free access to all Application papers, which are citable descriptions of new methods and techniques in ecology and evolution.
In case you haven’t seen this over the past few days, the Journal of Applied Ecology wants a new Senior Editor. The job will be to work with the other Editors “to determine journal strategy and to increase the reputation and quality of the Journal, in addition to making decisions on around 1000 manuscripts submitted each year”. If it’s anything like MEE, it is a lot of fun. The bread and butter work of deciding on papers is surprisingly interesting: you get to read a lot about a whole variety of things, and most submissions are interesting in one way or another.
If you are interested, there are more details on the BES site, and the job description is available as a PDF. If you want to apply, send a CV and cover letter to Andrea Baier, Deputy Head of Publications, explaining what you have to offer to the Journal and how you would develop it in the next three years. If you’re not sure about how to develop the journal, just write “we’ll watch Methods in Ecology and Evolution and copy whatever they do”. You’ll be bound to get the job.