Machine Learning Virtual Issue

We are pleased to announce our Machine Learning Virtual Issue is now online.

This collection of MEE articles showcases exciting advances and applications of machine learning (ML) across a wide range of ecological and evolutionary disciplines.

From the analysis of reef structure and tree crowns, to species and individual animal identification, biological overlap, content analysis, biodiversity assessment and counting animals, ML automates the extraction of meaningful information from large digital collections.

Our Associate Editors Arthur Porto, Marta Vidal-Garcia, Miguel Acevedo, Theoni Photopoulou and Sarab Sethi curated this virtual issue by selecting their favourite MEE articles that use machine learning. Find out below why these papers were chosen, and how they are helping to progress research in ecology and evolution.

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10th Anniversary Volume 11: Updates on the ClimEx Handbook

Post provided by Aud H. Halbritter

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature in the Methods.blog. For Volume 11, we have selected ‘The handbook for standardized field and laboratory measurements in terrestrial climate change experiments and observational studies (ClimEx)’ by Halbritter et al. (2019).

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10th Anniversary Volume 10: Evidence synthesis technology and automating systematic reviews

Post provided by Eliza M. grames

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature on the Methods.blog. For Volume 10, we have selected ‘An automated approach to identifying search terms for systematic reviews using keyword co‐occurrence networks’ by Grames et al. (2019).

In this post, Eliza Grames shares the motivation behind the litsearchr search approach, and developments since the article’s publication.

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10th Anniversary Volume 7: The ecologist’s field guide to sequence‐based identification of biodiversity

Post provided by Si Creer, Kristy Deiner, Serita Frey and Holly Bik

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature in the Methods.blog. For Volume 7, we have selected ‘The ecologist’s field guide to sequence‐based identification of biodiversity’ by Creer et al. (2016).

In this post, the authors share their motivation behind the paper and discuss advances in sequencebased identification of biodiversity.

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10th Anniversary Volume 3: Phylogenetics Editor’s Choice

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we are highlighting a key article from each of our volumes. For Volume 3, we selected ‘paleotree: an R package for paleontological and phylogenetic analyses of evolution‘ by David W. Bapst (2012).

In this post, three of our Associate Editors with expertise in phylogenetics Simone Blomberg, Will Pearse and Michael Matschiner share their favourite MEE papers in the field of phylogenetics and beyond.

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2017 Robert May Prize Winner: Jonathan Henshaw

The Robert May Prize is awarded annually for the best paper published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution by an Early Career Researcher. We’re delighted to announce that the 2017 winner is Jonathan Henshaw, for his article ‘A unified measure of linear and nonlinear selection on quantitative traits.

The standard approach to quantifying natural selection, developed by Lande and Arnold, does not allow for comparable metrics between linear (i.e. selection on the mean phenotype) and nonlinear (i.e. selection on all other aspects of the phenotypic distribution, including variance and the number of modes) selection gradients. Jonathan Henshaw’s winning submission provides the first integrated measure of the strength of selection that applies across qualitatively different selection regimes (e.g. directional, stabilizing or disruptive selection). Continue reading

2016 Robert May Prize Winner: Gabriella Leighton

The Robert May Prize is awarded annually for the best paper published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution by an Early Career Researcher. We’re delighted to announce that the 2016 winner is Gabriella Leighton, for her article ‘Just Google it: assessing the use of Google Images to describe geographical variation in visible traits of organisms.

‘Just Google it’ marks an important step in converting ecology to an armchair science. Many species (e.g. owls, hawks, bears) are difficult, time-consuming, expensive and even dangerous to observe. It would be a lot easier if we didn’t have to spend time, energy and risk lives having to observe organisms in the field! Continue reading

2015 Robert May Prize Winner: Kim Calders

The Robert May Prize is awarded annually for the best paper published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution by an Early Career Researcher. We’re delighted to announce that the 2015 winner is Kim Calders, for his article ‘Nondestructive estimates of above-ground biomass using terrestrial laser scanning.

Kim led the work on this article and had an international team of co-authors. They have developed a way to harness laser technology for use in measurements of vegetation structure of forests. The study is an important development in the monitoring of carbon stocks for worldwide climate policy-making. Continue reading

Why Accurate Stable Isotope Discrimination Factors are so Important: A cautionary tale (involving kea)

Post provided by AMANDA GREER

Stable isotopes as a tool for ecologists

Our research into the foraging ecology of this cheeky parrot (kea: Nestor notabilis) prompted us to develop a simple method to establish discrimination factors © Andruis Pašukonis

Our research into the foraging ecology of this cheeky parrot (kea: Nestor notabilis) prompted us to develop a simple method to establish discrimination factors © Andruis Pašukonis

Isotopes are atoms that have the same number of protons and electrons but differ in their number of neutrons; they are lighter and heavier forms of the same element. Unlike radioactive isotopes, stable isotopes do not decay over time.

The ratio of heavy to light stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes in an animal’s tissues depend on its diet, although offset by a certain amount. This integration of δ13C and δ15N from an animal’s diet into its tissues allows ecologists to use stable isotope analysis to investigate a species’ present and historical diets, food-web structures, niche shifts,  migration patterns and more.   Continue reading

National Wildlife Day 2015

Happy National Wildlife Day everyone!

Today is 10th National Wildlife Day. As we have done for a few awareness days this year (Bats, Biodiversity and Bees so far) we are marking the day by highlighting some of our favourite Methods in Ecology and Evolution articles on the subject. Obviously ‘wildlife’ is a pretty big topic, so we have narrowed our focus (slightly) to monitoring wildlife (with one or two additional papers that we didn’t want to leave out).

This list is certainly not exhaustive and there are many more wonderful articles on these topics in the journal. You can see more of them on the Wiley Online Library.

If you would like to learn more about National Wildlife Day, you may wish to visit the organisation’s website, follow them on Twitter and Facebook or check out today’s hashtag: #NationalWildlifeDay.

Without further ado though, please enjoy our selection of Methods articles for National Wildlife Day:

Integrating Demographic Data

Our National Wildlife Day celebration begins with an article from our EURING Special Feature. Robert Robinson et al. present an approach which allows important demographic parameters to be identified, even if they are not measured directly, in ‘Integrating demographic data: towards a framework for monitoring wildlife populations at large spatial scales‘. Using their approach they were able to retrieve known demographic signals both within and across species and identify the demographic causes of population decline in Song Thrush and Lawping.

 

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