Issue 7.3 is now online!

The March issue of Methods is now online!

This month’s issue contains two Applications articles and two Open Access articles, all of which are freely available.

METAGEAR: A comprehensive, multifunctional toolbox with capabilities aimed to cover much of the research synthesis taxonomy: from applying a systematic review approach to objectively assemble and screen the literature, to extracting data from studies, and to finally summarize and analyse these data with the statistics of meta-analysis.

Universal FQA Calculator: A free, open-source web-based Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) Calculator. The calculator offers 30 FQA data bases (with more being added regularly) from across the United States and Canada and has been used to calculate thousands of assessments. Its growing repository for site inventory and transect data is accessible via a REST API and represents a valuable resource for data on the occurrence and abundance of plant species.

This month’s first Open Access article comes from Krishna Pacifici et al. In their article, ‘Occupancy estimation for rare species using a spatially-adaptive sampling design‘, the authors integrate adaptive cluster sampling and spatial occupancy modelling by developing two models to handle the dependence induced by cluster sampling. They compare these models to scenarios using simple random sampling and traditional occupancy models via simulation and data collected on a rare plant species, Tamarix ramosissima, found in China. This approach is unique and potentially useful for a variety of studies directed at patchily distributed, clustered or rare species exhibiting spatial variation.

Our second Open Access article, ‘HEXT, a software supporting tree-based screens for hybrid taxa in multilocus data sets, and an evaluation of the homoplasy excess test‘ was written by Kevin Schneider et al. It introduces  a new software program, HEXT, which generates the taxon-jackknife data sets, runs the bootstrap tree calculations, and identifies excess bootstrap increases as outlier values in boxplot graphs. The authors demonstrate the usefulness of HEXT in large SNP data sets containing putative hybrids and their parents.

Our March issue also features articles on Evolution, Community Ecology, Conservation, Population Ecology and more.

This month’s cover image shows a wild Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), outfitted with a new GPS collar, in central Colorado. Following their extirpation in the 1970s, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reintroduced 218 wild-caught lynx, fit with Argos satellite/radio-telemetry collars, from 1999-2006. The pictured individual was trapped, collared, and immediately released in the spring of 2013 near Leadville, Colorado. He is the offspring of a lynx reintroduced to Colorado from Alaska in 2000 and was PIT-tagged as a kitten in 2005, making him approximately 8 years old in the photo.

Movement modeling is a rapidly growing field due to recent technological developments that have increased the temporal resolution and accuracy of animal location data. However, many historical data sets, such as the data associated with the lynx reintroduction, were not collected explicitly to model animal movement but may contain a wealth of location information. These data sets may have been collected using multiple methods, be temporally sparse, or contain large measurement error. In the related article, ‘A functional model for characterizing long-distance movement behaviour‘, Frances Buderman et al. develop a functional model for location data that are not amenable to analysis with other contemporary movement models. They demonstrate the utility of this model by analyzing the locations from two Canada lynx following their reintroduction to Colorado.

Photo © Steve Sunday (you can see more of Steve’s work HERE)

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.