New Associate Editor: Laura Graham

Today, we are pleased to announce the latest new member of the Methods in Ecology and Evolution Associate Editor Board. Laura Graham joins us from the University of Southampton, UK as an Applications Editor. You can find out a little more about her below.

Laura Graham

“I’m a quantitative ecologist interested in how anthropogenic changes such as climate change and habitat loss affect global ecosystems, and how this in turn affects human well-being. I develop computational methods for spatial ecology to facilitate the reproducible analysis of social-ecological systems and ecosystem services. I’m interested in using novel statistical methods and heterogeneous sources of data to answer applied and theoretical questions.” Continue reading

Methods in Temporal Ecology

Post provided by Althea L. Davies & M. Jane Bunting

This post presents our reflections from two sessions at the first British Ecological Society Annual Meeting since the Palaeoecology Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed. Did the term “palaeoecology” make you want to stop reading? Then you’re not alone – our field of ecology seems to have drifted apart from neoecology over the last couple decades. We seem to have been separated by our choice of methods, rather than brought together by the fascinating, complex and essential challenges of better understanding ecosystem function that we share.

The diversity of talks at BES 2018 showed that ecologists working on time scales beyond the scope of direct study are researching the same urgent, exciting questions as other flavours of ecology. And that they are doing it by using an ever-growing range of methods and technologies. The Thematic Session ‘Advancing Our Understanding of Long-Term Ecology’ showcased advances in studies of long-term ecology. The Palaeoecology Oral Session demonstrated the diversity within this field. We don’t have room to mention all presenters, so we’d like to highlight contributions from two speakers in each session which demonstrate how strong the shared ground between palaeoecology and neoecology is. Continue reading

Meet the Editor: Bob O’Hara

We’re just days aware from the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting. That means it’s time to meet our fourth Senior Editor: Bob O’Hara

What can you tell us about the first paper you published?
I got the sub-species name wrong in the first sentence of the introduction. This is why it’s good I’m not a taxonomist.

Who inspired you most as a student?
I’m not sure. I guess the writers of all those wonderful 70s Am. Nat. papers, when they did theory without the use of computers.

If you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?
The ability to be organised. Also hte ability to type without typos.

Continue reading

The BES Macroecology (& Macroevolution) SIG: Who We Are, What We Do and What to Look Out for at #BES2018

Post provided by Natalie Cooper

Defining macroecology should be easy; it’s just ecology at large spatial scales, right? In reality though, it’s a little more complex than that. No-one agrees on exactly how large the spatial scale should be, and many studies that could be macroecology may also be defined as biogeography, landscape ecology, community ecology etc. Working at large spatial scales can also mean working at large temporal scales, often in deep-time. So there’s a lot of overlap with studies of macroevolution both on living and extinct species too.

This breadth of definitions means the BES Macroecology Special Interest Group (or BES Macro as we usually call it) has members with interests across ecology, evolution and palaeontology. Probably the most common statement at any of our events is “I’m not a macroecologist but…”. So, if you’re interested in broad-scale ecology and evolution, in a living or palaeo context, the SIG is for you, even if you don’t identify as a macroecologist! Continue reading

Speed Review at the BES Annual Meeting: Get a Senior Editor’s Opinion on YOUR Manuscript

Coming to the BES Annual Meeting? Planning to submit a paper to a BES journal? Then you should sign up for the Speed Review Session on Monday 17 December! (sign-up sheets will be on the BES Stand in the Exhibition Hall.) Find out more about this session below.

What is a Speed Review Session?

©schlagzahluhren.de

©schlagzahluhren.de

Essentially, Speed Review is a chance for you to get a Senior Editor’s opinion on your manuscript. All you need to do is sign-up and bring along a figure or a key finding from your research to centre the discussion on. Each session will be limited to five minutes, so try to have a succinct summary of your manuscript ready as well. The Editor you speak to will let you know what they think of your paper and try to give you some advice about any areas to highlight or any potential concerns that they might have about it. Continue reading

Meet the Editor: Rob Freckleton

Today, we’re finding out a bit more about Methods in Ecology and Evolution‘s Executive (and founding) Editor, Rob Freckleton.

Please share a [funny] story about a paper you had rejected.
I had a paper rejected (from a journal that will remain nameless) – so I submitted it to Functional Ecology and it won the Haldane prize for best paper by a young author. I had another that was rejected from that journal and subsequently published in Functional Ecology that directly got me a job! Another amusing anecdote from around the same time: a third paper was not rejected, but I was accidentally forwarded some correspondence from the Editor with some (very non-flattering) opinions of me & my co-author… that paper went on to get >300 citations; and the Editor apologised fulsomely and unreservedly, to their great credit. And I’m not specifically knocking the journal in question: I just send a lot of papers there so have a lot of stories!
Continue reading

Meet the Editor: Lee Hsiang Liow

We’re meeting a second Senior Editor ahead of the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting today: Lee Hsiang Liow

What’s your favourite species and why?
Microporella rusti. It is a bryozoan species from New Zealand and is named after a good friend Seabourne Rust who is a Kiwi bryozoologist. Most marine bryozoans are really lovely, but this one is not just that, but a bit weird, because no one has yet seen any brood chambers in the hundreds of colonies we have examined (hey! where did the babies go?). And, by naming this species, I am forever linked with some of the best bryozoologists in the world (Emanuela Di Martino, Paul D Taylor and Dennis Gordon), who are also some of the people I admire most!
Continue reading

Meet the Editor: Aaron Ellison

The British Ecological Society Annual Meeting is fast approaching. Those of you joining us in Birmingham will have a chance to meet our Senior Editors. So, we thought that you might like to get to know them a little bit beforehand.

First up, we’re meeting our newest Senior Editor, Aaron Ellison.

What can you tell us about the first paper you published?
I published my first paper in 1983 (A naturally occurring developmental synergism between the cellular slime mold, Dictyostelium mucoroides and the fungus, Mucor hiemalis). It was based on summer undergraduate research in which I developed a new method to collect cellular slime molds (Dictyostelium spp.) in the field and then worked on culturing them in the lab during the following fall and spring. During this time, I discovered that one of the strains of D. mucoroides only made stalked fruiting bodies in the presence of a fungus, Mucor hiemalis. My first draft was terrible, but I learned a lot through the editing process with my undergraduate mentor, Leo Buss. Continue reading

How to Assemble, Fill and Clean Metapopulation Microcosm Plates: Two Video Tutorials

Metapopulation Microcosm Plates (MMP) are devices which resemble 96-well microtiter plates in size and shape, but with corridors connecting the wells in any configuration desired. They can be used to culture microbial metapopulations or metacommunities with up to 96 habitat patches.

In these two video tutorials, Helen Kurkjian explains how you can assemble, fill and clean MMPs in your lab.

Continue reading

Spatial Cross-Validation of Species Distribution Models in R: Introducing the blockCV Package

Post provided by Roozbeh Valavi

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Modelling species distributions involves relating a set of species occurrences to relevant environmental variables. An important step in this process is assessing how good your model is at figuring out where your target species is. We generally do this by evaluating the predictions made for a set of locations that aren’t included in the model fitting process (the ‘testing points’).

Random splitting of the species occurrence data into training and testing points

Random splitting of the species occurrence data into training and testing points

The normal, practical advice people give about this suggests that, for reliable validation, the testing points should be independent of the points used to train the model. But, truly independent data are often not available. Instead, modellers usually split their data into a training set (for model fitting) and a testing set (for model validation), and this can be done to produce multiple splits (e.g. for cross-validation). The splitting is typically done randomly. So testing points sometimes end up located close to training points. You can see this in the figure to the right: the testing points are in red and training points are in blue. But, could this cause any problem? Continue reading