Issue 8.4: Technological Advances at the Interface of Ecology and Statistics

Issue 8.4 is now online!

The April issue of Methods, which includes our latest Special Feature – “Technological Advances at the Interface of Ecology and Statistics” – is now online!

This new Special Feature is a collection of five articles (plus an Editorial from Guest Editor David Warton) inspired by the December 2015 Eco-Stats conference at the University of New South Wales in Australia. It shows how interdisciplinary collaboration help to solve problems around estimating biodiversity and how it changes over space and time.

The five articles are based on joint talks given at the conference. They focus on:

As David Warton states in his Editorial, “interdisciplinary collaboration and the opportunities offered by recent technological advances have potential to lead to interesting and sometimes surprising findings, and will continue to be fertile ground for scientists in the foreseeable future”. Meetings like Eco-Stats 15 and Special Features like this one will, hopefully, help to encourage these sorts of collaborative research projects.

All of the articles in the ‘Technological Advances at the Interface of Ecology and Statistics‘ Special Feature will be freely available for a limited time.

This month’s issue also includes two Applications articles 

deBInfer: An R package for implementing a Bayesian framework for parameter inference in differential equations (DE). deBInfer provides templates for the DE model, the observation model and data likelihood, and the model parameters and their prior distributions. This templating approach makes deBInfer applicable to a wide range of DE models.

GFLOW: Open-source software that massively parallelizes the computation of circuit theory-based connectivity. It allows large-extent and high-resolution connectivity problems to be calculated over many iterations and at multiple scales.

… And two Open Access articles

Pitcher et al. provide the first Open Access article: ‘Estimating the sustainability of towed fishing-gear impacts on seabed habitats: a simple quantitative risk assessment method applicable to data-limited fisheries‘. In this paper the authors develop and apply a quantitative method for assessing the risks to benthic habitats by towed bottom-fishing gears. Unlike qualitative or categorical trait-based risk assessments, their method provides a quantitative estimate of status relative to an unimpacted baseline, with minimal requirements for input data.

In the second Open Access article, Gilbert et al. develop and implemented a novel algorithm for the simulation of integro-difference equations (IDEs) modelling population spread, including stage structure, which uses adaptive mesh refinement. Their approach provides large improvements in efficiency without significant loss of accuracy. Find out more in ‘Speeding up the simulation of population spread models‘.

This month’s cover image was used as the banner for the Eco-Stats 15 Conference “Technological advances between Ecology and Statistics”. The image shows a flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) morphing into a residual plot, to symbolise the merging of ideas between ecology and statistics.  It was conceptualised by David Warton and realised by Susannah Waters (UNSW Sydney, Australia).

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.

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