Our 5th Anniversary Symposium

Charles Darwin House, London, UK: 10:00 – 18:00 (GMT)

Alberta Room, Dining Centre, University of Calgary, Canada: 08:30 – 17:00 (MST)

22 April 2015

Symp ad w_bannerMethods in Ecology and Evolution, the British Ecological Society’s youngest journal, turns five this year. To celebrate we will be holding a joint Symposium – beginning in the UK and concluding in Canada.

We will be hearing what’s in store for the future from young, international researchers including the first winner of the Robert May Young Investigator’s Prize and some of the journal’s Associate Editors. Topics that will be discussed include model selection, data analysis, R and more.

You can find out more about the Symposium, including information on all of the talks on our website. If you have any questions that aren’t answered there, feel free to get in touch (coordinator@methodsinecologyandevolution.org).

If you haven’t registered to attend the Symposium yet, there is still time. Be quick though, our Early Bird prices are coming to an end on Friday 20 March.

You can register for our 5th Anniversary Symposium HERE.

We understand that for a lot of our dedicated readers, it simply won’t be possible to get to either Calgary or London. Therefore, we will be live streaming the whole event. Every speaker’s talk, from the UK and from Canada, will be available LIVE – online and free of charge. We will be releasing more information about the live stream closer to the date, so keep an eye out for it here and on our website (link above).

We hope that you will be able join us, in person or online, to celebrate five wonderful years of Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

 

Flawed Method puts Tiger Rise in Doubt

The following is a press release about the Methods paper ‘An examination of index-calibration experiments: counting tigers at macroecological scales‘ taken from the University of Oxford News and Events page:

Flaws in a method commonly used in censuses of tigers and other rare wildlife put the accuracy of such surveys in doubt, a new study suggests.

A team of scientists from theNH_QT_K2934024 University of Oxford, Indian Statistical Institute, and Wildlife Conservation Society exposes, for the first time, inherent shortcomings in the ‘index-calibration’ method that means it can produce inaccurate results. Amongst recent studies thought to be based on this method is India’s national tiger survey (January 2015) which claimed a surprising but welcome 30 percent rise in tiger numbers in just four years.

The team urges conservation practitioners to guard against these sources of error, which could mislead even the best conservation efforts, and suggests a constructive way forward using alternative methods of counting rare animals that avoid the pitfalls of the index-calibration approach.

A report of the research is published this week in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Continue reading

Issue 6.2

Issue 6.2 is now online!

The February issue of Methods is now online!

This month we have two applications articles. Both are free to access, no subscription required.

– NLMpy: A PYTHON software package for the creation of neutral landscape models (there are also two videos associated to this paper on our Youtube channel)

BAT - an R package for the measurement and estimation of alpha and beta taxon, phylogenetic and functional diversity

There are also two OnlineOpen articles in this month’s issue. Power analysis for generalized linear mixed models in ecology and evolution, by Paul C. D. Johnson,Sarah J. E. Barry, Heather M. Ferguson and Pie Müller, focuses on why and how we use power analysis for GLMMs using simulations more than we should.

Our second Open Access article is also the source of our cover image, which shows the ciliate protist Paramecium caudatum (about 0.25 mm long). Protist species like this are commonly found in aquatic habitats and offer a unique study system to test ecological and evolutionary concepts. The protist was isolated from a natural pond and subsequently used for microcosm experiments, which have a long tradition in order to test ecological and evolutionary concepts.

In the accompanying review paper, Florian Altermatt et al. describe a wide range of available techniques to use this and many other protists species to conduct microcosm experiments. The review paper gives detailed protocols of available techniques with a focus on modern, high-frequency and high-throughput measurements, and outlines how such microcosm experiments may be used to address a wide range of questions.

This comprehensive guide to using protist microcosms as a model system in ecology and evolution in ‘Big answers from small worlds‘, which is available free of charge.
Photo © Regula Illi and Florian Altermatt.

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.

Issue 6.1

Issue 6.1 is now online!

Our first issue of 2015 is now online!

This month we include one freely available Applications article:

A biochemical approach for identifying plastics exposure in live wildlife

We also have two wonderful Open Access papers, ‘Evaluation and management implications of uncertainty in a multispecies size-structured model of population and community responses to fishing‘ by Robert B. Thorpe, Will J. F. Le Quesne, Fay Luxford, Jeremy S. Collie and Simon Jennings and ‘Split diversity in constrained conservation prioritization using integer linear programming‘ by Olga Chernomor, Bui Quang Minh, Félix Forest, Steffen Klaere, Travis Ingram, Monika Henzinger and Arndt von Haeseler.

This month’s cover image shows more than 170 plastic pieces that were found in the digestive system of a single deceased seabird. Plastic items this seabird ate included industrial pellets (‘nurdles’) that are just a few millimeters long, drink bottle lids, ties used for helium balloons, a plastic doll’s arm and numerous other plastic pieces, some more than 55 mm in length. We can necropsy deceased birds to find out what they have eaten as they forage in the open ocean. However, to understand the pervasiveness of plastics in the marine environment and the potential impacts to wildlife, non-destructive sampling is key.

There is a new method to assess the ubiquity of plastics ingestion in seabirds. A simple swabbing technique, coupled with gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry, can be used to identify phthalate plasticizers that have been adsorbed into the preening oil of seabirds.The approach is quick, simple and can be used on live, wild-caught individuals without harm, serving as an effective tool to help manage declining, threatened or endangered species.

You can read more about this swabbing technique in Hardesty et al.’s ‘A biochemical approach for identifying plastics exposure in live wildlife‘, which is available free of charge.
Photo © Britta Denise Hardesty, CSIRO.

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.

NLMpy: a python software package for the creation of neutral landscape models

In this video Thomas Etherington shows how to use the NLMpy Python package to create neutral landscape models.  The video demonstrates how the paper’s Supporting Information documentation, Python scripts, and GIS data can be used to create a the example neutral landscape models that are shown in the paper.

Recognising that some ecologists may not be very familiar with Python, the authors have also created a video that provides some advice about choosing a suitable scientific distribution of Python, and demonstrates how to install the NLMpy package itself.

Issue 3.3

Rosefinch with geolocator tag

Cover image for issue 3.3
© Germán Garcia – CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

About the issue

Issue 3.3 contains an amazing number of extra features: three videos, one podcast and one Powerpoint presentation. The topics in the issue range from DNA barcoding, surveys, measuring diversity, population and movement modelling and includes five free applications.

About the cover

Recently developed light-weighed tracking devices for positioning through light intensity pattern (‘geolocation’) have begun to greatly improve our knowledge of animal migration. However, the analysis of geolocator data is impeded by many factors potentially affecting light levels and thus, ultimately the determination of positions. Herein, weather and vegetation are major factors altering the light regime experienced by the animals. The picture shows a Common Rosefinch (Carpodactus erythrinus) featured with a 0.5 gram geolocator device.

In Geolocation by light: accuracy and precision affected by environmental factors Simeon Lisovski and colleagues demonstrated the effect of weather, topography and vegetation on the measurement of day/night length, time of solar midnight/noon and the resulting position estimates using light measurements from stationary geolocators at known places and from geolocators mounted on birds.

Related

Issue 3.2

Aerial photograph of a forest

Cover image for issue 3.2
© Getzin & Wiegand – Biodiversity Exploratories

About the issue

With topics ranging from phylogenetic analysis to statistics and distribution modelling, conservation, citizen science, surveys, genetic and demographic models to avian biology, our issue 3.2 should be of interest to most ecologists and evolutionary biologists. The issue also contains 5 free applications.

About the cover

This very high-resolution image of a beech-dominated forest in central Germany was taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at 250 meter above ground. In this photograph one can clearly recognize individual tree crowns and even smallest gaps. UAVs are increasingly used for ecological surveys because they provide extremely fine resolutions and thus allow the identification of previously undetected object details. Furthermore, UAVs can be considered as very cost-effective tools for the acquisition of data that can be used also very flexibly.

In Assessing biodiversity in forests using very high-resolution images and unmanned aerial vehicles Getzin, Wiegand and Schöning tested the hypothesis that gap-structural information on aerial images can be principally used for the ecological assessment of understorey plant diversity in forests. The authors demonstrate that spatially implicit information on gap shape metrics is indeed sufficient to reveal strong dependency between gap patterns as a filter for incoming light and plant biodiversity. The study highlights that understorey biodiversity can be actively controlled by the spatial quality, and not just quantity, of tree removal. Thus, even under the same quota of tree harvesting, the promotion of complex and irregularly shaped gaps may be beneficial to foster biodiversity in forests.

Related

Recently accepted articles

We have been very busy in the past couple of weeks and we have a whole range of recently accepted articles:

  • A novel digital telemetry system for tracking wild animals: a field test for studying mate choice in a lekking tropical bird
    Dan Mennill, Stéphanie Doucet, Kara-Anne Ward, Dugan Maynard, Brian Otis and John Burt
  • A general theory of multimetric indices and their properties
    Donald Schoolmaster, James Grace and E. Schweiger
  • Beyond sensitivity: nonlinear perturbation analysis of transient dynamics
    Iain Stott, Dave Hodgson, and Stuart Townley
  • A two-phase sampling design for increasing detection of rare species in occupancy surveys
    Krishna Pacifici, Robert Dorazio and Michael Conroy
  • Metabarcoding of arthropods for rapid biodiversity assessment and biomonitoring
    Douglas Yu, Yingiu Ji, Brent Emerson, Xiaoyang Wang, Chengxi Ye, Chunyan Yang and Zhaoli Ding
  • How to measure and test phylogenetic signal
    Tamara Münkemüller, Sébastien Lavergne, Bruno Bzeznik, Stéphane Dray, Thibaut Jombart, Katja Schiffers and Wilfried Thuiller
  • Statistical evaluation of parameters estimating autocorrelation and individual heterogeneity in longitudinal studies
    Sandra Hamel, Nigel Yoccoz and Jean-Michel Gaillard
  • jPopGen Suite: population genetics analysis of DNA polymorphism from nucleotide sequences with errors
    Xiaoming Liu

They will be soon available on Early View.

2011 top cited papers – part 2

Today we look at part 2 of our most cited papers in Methods in Ecology and Evolution in 2011.

Plant monitoring and modelling

Stable isotope ecology

Community ecology

Our most cited papers on statistical methods in ecology and evolution, modelling species and the environment, and physiological ecology were covered in part 1 – and finally tomorrow we’ll look at our top papers in population monitoring, climate change, evolutionary ecology and phylogenomics.

2011 top cited papers – part 1

Methods in Ecology and Evolution will be receiving its first Impact Factor in summer 2012 and we are very impressed with how well our articles are being cited. For those of you who have been following Methods from the start, you will notice some papers that we have already mentioned last year in our top cited blog posts. These are still going strong! Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting our most cited papers across a broad range of fields – stay tuned on MethodsBlog.

Statistical methods in ecology & evolution

Modelling species and the environment

Parasitology

Physiological ecology

Tomorrow we will be posting part 2, where we’ll be showcasing our top cited papers in plant monitoring and modelling, stable isotope ecology and community ecology, and come back on Wednesday for part 3, when we’ll be revealing our top papers in population monitoring, climate change, evolutionary ecology and phylogenomics.