New Associate Editors

We’d like to welcome Jason Matthiopoulos (from the University of Glasgow), Oscar Gaggiotti (from the University of St Andrews), and Greg McInerny (from the University of Oxford) to our Editorial Board team!

Jason Mathiopoulos

Jason Matthiopoulos

Jason is interested in modelling the patterns and mechanisms that characterise spatial and population ecology. Much of his work has focused on building theory by translating biological hypotheses to mathematical models, using modern inference to fit these models to population, demographic, behavioural and physiological data, and applying the conclusions to wildlife conservation, natural resource management and risk assessment.

Oscar Gaggiotti

Oscar Gaggiotti

Oscar’s research focuses on the study of spatial patterns of genetic diversity to better understand the evolutionary and ecological processes responsible for their origin and maintenance. He develops ecologically realistic population genetics theory and statistical methods using the metapopulation paradigm and Bayesian statistics, and applies these methods to two research problems: (i) statistical inference of demographic history and ecology of populations and, (ii) study of local adaptation to understand the molecular bases of phenotypic variation.

Greg McInerny

Greg McInerny

Greg has joined as an Applications Editor and will be handling a lot our Applications papers. His research is a blend of science, software and visualisation. Most scientific questions require some level of methodological advance. Those methods are frequently instantiated in code or software. And finally, the results need to be explored and communicated to a variety of users. Fusing these different aspects of science is demanding, but worthwhile. Alongside Greg’s interests in the regulation and generation of biodiversity, he has a special interest in the usability of software and how usability can increase software functionality and quality. Usability isn’t just about GUIs!

New Applications Editors

We would like to welcome 4 new Applications Editors to our editorial board: Rich Fitzjohn from Macquarie University, Australia, Ruth King from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, Brian O’Meara from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Timothée Poisot from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Rich, Ruth, Brian and Tim are the first of a new group of Associate Editors who will deal solely with our Applications papers, (citable descriptions of new software, equipment, or other practical tools) while considering the implementation of methods as computational tools.

Rich Fitzjohn

Rich Fitzjohn

Rich investigates why some groups of species are far more diverse than others, and the contribution of differences in species traits to coexistence. He uses phylogenetic and trait data to develop new statistical approaches to describe variation in diversity. Current research uses mathematical and simulation modeling to understand how trait variation allows for species co-existence. He’s also interested in developing tools to make science more open and reproducible.

Ruth King

Ruth King

Ruth’s research interests primarily lie within the area of statistical ecology. In particular she is interested in the development of novel statistical methodology for analysing complex ecological, and associated, data. Areas of interest include the analysis of capture-recapture-recovery data, state-space/hidden Markov models, integrated population modelling, incorporating covariate information and/or individual heterogeneity (including dealing with associated missing data) and associated Bayesian and classical model-fitting tools.

Brian O'Meara

Brian O’Meara

Brian works on developing and applying phylogenetic methods to address key questions in evolution and, to a lesser extent, ecology. His work largely focuses on comparative methods, including methods for heterogeneity in continuous and discrete characters, but he also works on phylogeography, species delimitation, protein evolution, diversification, and more.

Tim Poisot

Timothée Poisot

Tim is interested in the spatial and temporal dynamics of species interactions at the community level. His research seeks to develop predictive models to forecast the structure of communities when observations about species interactions are scarce, understanding the relevance of variability in community structure on emerging ecosystem properties, and the evolutionary dynamics of multi-species assemblages. He explores these questions using computational approaches, from standard models of population dynamics to graph-theoretical approaches.

Issue 5.8

mee-5-8-coverlargeIssue 5.8 includes articles on lidar & radar in ecology, occurrence data analysis, ecological networks, measuring habitats, life history variation, dispersal, biodiversity–productivity and monitoring populations, along with the freely available application article: ‘a simple numerical tool to infer whether a species is extinct‘.

There’s an associated video this month in which Phillip Stepanian and colleagues talk about the background and motivation behind their paper: ‘an introduction to radar image processing in ecology‘, followed by a short tutorial.

About the cover: This issue’s cover image shows a bull African elephant (Loxodonta africana), called B1177 ‘Obama’, moving through Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. Positional data collected using GPS tracking is increasingly used to study the movement ecology of a wide variety of species and can also be used for applied conservation as in our elephant program in Kenya. Space-use estimators are often needed to model an individual’s utilization of its environment based on sampled positional data. In the associated article we present a new space-use estimator called the Elliptical Time-Density (ETD) model that is ideally suited to frequently sampled GPS locations. Unlike other methods, this approach is based on empirically derived parameters that are biologically interpretable.
Photo© George Wittemyer.

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.

Are your analyses too fancy?

In this video David Warton interviews Ben Bolker, Professor in Theoretical and Statistical Ecology at McMaster University and maintainer of the lmer package, and Mark Brewer, Principal Consultant for Ecology and Environmental Science at BioSS, Scotland. They discuss the tendency to develop and use big fancy analyses that are in some applications unnecessarily complex, why it happens, and what can be done about it. Look out for a cameo from one of our Editors!

Ecology in China

ChinaEcology_Advert2At MEE we are looking to publish the best methodological papers. It is no surprise, then, that we are able to contribute several papers to this ‘Ecology in China’ Virtual Issue. The topics covered range from an elegant new way of using very old technology (Zhao et al.) to methods based on next generation sequencing to investigate biodiversity (for example Liu et al.). It is a pleasure to see the range of work being both submitted to MEE from China, and then to see that so much of it is going on to be published by us. Clearly, Chinese researchers are finding themselves at the forefront of ecological research, especially in the application of DNA-based methods, and so are finding themselves having to develop new methods for these new technologies. It is a pleasure to be a part of this Virtual Issue, where we can showcase how Chinese ecology is developing, and the methods that are being developed in China which will help researchers all over the world advance the science of ecology.

Bob O’Hara, Senior Editor

Click here to read this Virtual issue.

Kinect connects for mangroves research

Here is a video and press release about the recent Methods paper, ‘Investigating three-dimensional meso-scale habitat complexity and its ecological implications using low-cost RGB-D sensor technology‘, taken from Griffith University:

Motion sensing technology, best known in computer games, is vastly improving Queensland scientists’ ability to quantify habitat complexity in mangroves.

The Kinect line of devices developed by Microsoft for Xbox consoles and Windows PCs is marrying gaming technology with ecological research to deliver precise three-dimensional data in greater efficiency and at a fraction of the cost of current imaging techniques.

At Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute (ARI) on the Gold Coast, Professor Joe Lee, Dr Jan Warnken and Higher Degree Research student Ms Shafagh Kamal have been Continue reading

Our New Impact Factor (or why the five year impact factor is much much much more important)

Yesterday Thomson-Reuters finally released their impact factors for 2013. And ours is …


Which has gone down by 0.602 from last year. This also means we’ve moved down to 15th in the Ecology rankings. And what is worse is that the Journal of Ecology has overtaken us!

Impact factors are notorious for only covering 2 years of citations, which is not a long time in ecology. Our five year impact factor is 6.587, which puts us 9th in ecology, and ABOVE JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY. This is only from 4 years of publication of MEE, so we’re even giving everyone else a head start.

What can we conclude from this? Clearly, the 2 year impact factor is not adequately capturing the performance of ecological journals and the 5 year impact factor is a far, far superior measure of performance. Anyone who suggests differently must be in the pay of Big-JIF.

Alternatively, it suggests that we are still doing well as a journal: our papers are getting cited, and presumably read (but see Know-Thine-Own-Self Results). Having good metrics like the (5-year) impact factor is nice, but these are a reflection of quality, not the quality itself. There is more than one way that research can have an impact, which is why we are happy to continue to have Altmetric scores on all of our papers.

Issue 5.7

mee-5-7-coverlargeIssue 5.7 is now available online, including papers on population ecology, landscape ecology, spatial ecology, community ecology and environmental ecology.

This month there is a forum discussion by Murray Efford and Andy Royle, about the 2013 paper Integrating resource selection information with spatial capture–recapture.

There are 2 open access papers on particle size distribution and optimal capture of aqueous macrobial eDNA, and measuring convergent evolution, along with 3 applications on SDMtoolbox, BAMMtools and modestr.

In addition, David Borchers discusses his article, Continuous-time spatially explicit capture–recapture models, with an application to a jaguar camera-trap survey, in this interview by David Warton.

About the cover: Identifying regions of high functional connectivity for multiple species of wildlife is a conservation priority. In Landscape connectivity for wildlife: development and validation of multispecies linkage maps, the authors present an approach to predict areas of relatively high multispecies functional connectivity that is accurate, cost-effective, and efficient. The cover image shows a current density map, produced with the software Circuitscape, in the Algonquin-to-Adirondack region of North America, with warm colours representing areas predicted to have relatively high functional connectivity. Current density is proportional to the probability of use during a random walk. The map was validated with empirical data from fishers and herptiles, showing that multiple species move through areas that were predicted to have high functional connectivity.

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.


Ecological statistics are methods too!

LSJ_14_66814_FHU_MEE-ISEC-VI-WebAdvert_200px_Proof01BMethods in Ecology and Evolution has been publishing papers on statistical ecology since its inception in 2010. Since the last ISEC meeting, we have published many more papers, of an increasing quality and influence. We have put together a Virtual Issue to showcase some of those papers (but it also misses out many more that will be just as interesting)!.

The papers chosen show the range of statistical issues that have been covered in MEE so far: movement ecology, distributions, abundance, dynamics, capture/recapture, as well as papers on how we should interpret our results. MEE also publishes applications, which outline recent developments in implementations of methods, for example new software and packages, and a couple of these are included in this Virtual Issue.

I hope these papers will prove to be stimulating, and show the range of statistical subjects covered in MEE. I also hope it will encourage you to explore other papers published in MEE, and to submit your best papers on statistical ecology to Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Senior Editor