Issue 6.3 is now online!

The March issue of Methods is now online!

We have three freely available Applications articles in this issue. Anyone can access these with no subscription required and no charge to download.

TR8: This R package was built to provide plant scientists with a simple tool for retrieving plant functional traits from freely accessible online traitbases.

StereoMorph: A new R package for the rapid and accurate collection of 3D landmarks and curves using two standard digital cameras.

MotionMeerkat: A new standalone program that identifies motion events from a video stream. This tool reduces the time needed to review videos and accommodates a variety of inputs.

This month we have a total of FIVE Open Access articles. That makes eight articles in this issue of Methods in Ecology and Evolution that you can read for free!

Our first Open Access article is a Review by Nathan Merchant et al. The authors review the signal processing techniques needed to produce calibrated measurements of terrestrial and aquatic acoustic habitats in ‘Measuring Accoustic Habitats‘. This is followed by ‘Modelling animal movement using the Argos satellite telemetry location error ellipse‘ in which Brett McClintock et al present an observation model utilizing the Argos error ellipse and then demonstrate how this observation model can be combined with a simple three-dimensional movement model.

Mark Baumgartner and his co-authors explain the new tag attachment that has been developed to overcome the limitations of traditional suction cup attachments in ‘Development and assessment of a new dermal attachment for short-term tagging studies of baleen whales‘. If you are studying molecular ecology, you may be interested in Ewan Minter et al.’s article ‘A rapid and cost-effective quantitative microsatellite genotyping protocol to estimate intraspecific competition in protist microcosm experiments‘. The authors present a molecular method, quantitative microsatellite genotyping, to accurately quantify strain-specific frequencies from microcosm experiments of the marine flagellate Oxyrrhis marina.

In our final Open Access article for this month Daniele Silvestro et al explain why measurement errors should always be incorporated in phylogenetic comparative analysis.

This month’s cover image shows a hoverfly (Chrysotoxum sp.) on a composite flowerhead in Norfolk (UK). In surveys of agricultural landscapes, hoverflies have been found to be more common and more species-rich in conventional cereal fields than in organic ones at the scale of an individual trap. However, hoverflies show a greater turnover across space within and between organic farms than they do in conventional farms. Consequently, species richness for organic farms may potentially overtake that of conventional ones at some scale, but assessing such coarse scale diversity patterns from fine scale samples is a methodological challenge.

In their article, ‘Towards a unified descriptive theory for spatial ecology, Azaele et al propose a new multi-scale spatial approach which is able to predict biodiversity patterns at large scales from the empirical data collected locally. The methodology can potentially predict the species richness within very large areas and can be used to assess particular agri-environmental schemes or the impact of human activities on biodiversity.

Photo © Bill Kunin.

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.