In this video to accompany their paper Randomization tests for quantifying species importance to ecosystem function, authors Nicholas Gotelli and Fernando Maestre discuss the introduction of simple tests for measuring the effect of species on ecosystem variables, and give us an insight into the logistics required for their paper’s “natural experiements” – involving the collection and preparation of over 25,000 lichen samples!

The methodology presented in this paper provides a simple way of determining and testing species importance, and could form the basis for future theoretical and experimental studies investigating species occurrence and ecosystem function.