Methods Digest – November 2009

Here is a round-up of interesting methods and methods-related papers published in the past few weeks. Please do pass on any interesting-looking papers / links and I will include them.

In Heredity Blanya et al. review the use of Drosophila subobscura as a tool in research on the  microevolutionary consequences of climate change.

There are several methods-relevant papers in the latest issue of Evolution: Céline Becquet and Molly Przeworski look at the problem of estimating the mode of speciation, specifically whether speciation occurs with gene flow; Calsbeek & Goodnight criticially examine methods for estimating G-test statistics; Craig White et al. revisit the issue of the scaling of BMR with body size in mammals, and show that the estimate of the scaling coefficient depends on the method.

A really nice paper by FitzJohn et al. has just appeared online in Systematic Biology that deals with the tricky problem of estimating trait-dependent speciation and extinction rates in the face of phylogenetic uncertainty. Another really interesting early online publication is the study by Kress et al. in PNAS who use barcoding methods for the first time to construct a phylogeny for a whole community.

A study by Guoke Chen and colleagues in Journal of Ecology presents an analysis of the factors that might influence detection probability in plant surveys.

In Journal of Applied Ecology Fieborg et al. present an overview of regression modelling of correlated data; Chetkiewicz & Boyce apply resource selection functions to identify conservation corridors;  Lemke et al. revisit the use of fluorescent markers in studying seed dispersal. Satu Ramula and colleages present a comparison of integral projection models and matrix population models, and show that the former perform better with small datasets. On a related note, in Ecological Monographs Mark Rees and Steve Ellner present integral projection models for populations in temporally varying environments.

Thomas Cornulier and colleagues present in Ecology Letters a method for estimating the number of annual breeding attempts, and apply this to look at reasons for the decline of yellowhammers.

In the latest issue of Conservation Letters, Bruce Kendall looks at the use of diffusion approximations in Population Viability Analysis.

In a paper in Oikos Scott Forbes applies investment theory to understand how birds manage risk.

Finally for this month, for matrix population modellers Peter Zuidema et al. introudce in the American Naturalist a new tool for analysing how faster growing individuals contribute to population growth rates.

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