Volume 3 Issue 1: Now online

It seems that from the number of submissions we receive at the journal, Methods in Ecology and Evolution has filled an important niche. As our editor-in-chief, Rob Freckleton, wrote to introduce our second volume: “those doing science need to be kept up to date on new approaches, and those developing new methods need a place to publish, as well as be supported in getting their methods used”. The journal appears to have done just that: not only have we published some very popular articles (see our recent posts on 2011 top cited papers part 1, part 2 and part 3) but we have also seen a keen interest from our authors in utilising the online extras that we offer to disseminate their work.

As always, in issue 3.1 we cover a very broad range of articles – the scope includes everything from statistics, to ecophysiology and stable isotope methods. The applications of the methods are as varied as reconstructing snow depth surfaces, tracking migratory songbirds, estimating immigration in neutral communities and assessing the effects of watershed and reach characteristics on riverine assemblages. Being the first issue of the year all content is free to access.

One of our big aims is to promote the uptake of methods. On our video and podcast page, we have support for the papers in this issue, including:

Our first Open Access article by Erica Spotswood and colleagues, How safe is mist netting? Evaluating the risk of injury and mortality to birds, attracted a lot media attention. You can read the press coverage for this article on our News and Highlights page.

This issue also contains a free phylogenetic application: MOTMOT, a model of trait macroevolution on trees by Gavin Thomas and Rob Freckleton. Check out our Applications page describing the latest software tools. It’s worth remembering that all Applications are free.

Finally, Mitch Eaton and William Link provided the catchy photograph that make this issue’s front cover. You can read more about the cover on a separate post, available tomorrow!

We hope you enjoy reading this issue!

2011 top cited papers – part 2

Today we look at part 2 of our most cited papers in Methods in Ecology and Evolution in 2011.

Plant monitoring and modelling

Stable isotope ecology

Community ecology

Our most cited papers on statistical methods in ecology and evolution, modelling species and the environment, and physiological ecology were covered in part 1 – and finally tomorrow we’ll look at our top papers in population monitoring, climate change, evolutionary ecology and phylogenomics.

2011 top cited papers – part 1

Methods in Ecology and Evolution will be receiving its first Impact Factor in summer 2012 and we are very impressed with how well our articles are being cited. For those of you who have been following Methods from the start, you will notice some papers that we have already mentioned last year in our top cited blog posts. These are still going strong! Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting our most cited papers across a broad range of fields – stay tuned on MethodsBlog.

Statistical methods in ecology & evolution

Modelling species and the environment


Physiological ecology

Tomorrow we will be posting part 2, where we’ll be showcasing our top cited papers in plant monitoring and modelling, stable isotope ecology and community ecology, and come back on Wednesday for part 3, when we’ll be revealing our top papers in population monitoring, climate change, evolutionary ecology and phylogenomics.

Recently accepted articles

We have been very busy this week and we have a whole range of recently accepted articles:

  • Bats as bioindicators – The need of a standardized method for acoustic bat activity surveys
    Peter Stahlschmidt and Carsten Brühl
  • Developing a deeper understanding of animal movements and spatial dynamics through novel application of network analyses
    David Jacoby, Edward Brooks, Darren Croft and David Sims
  • BaSTA: an R package for Bayesian estimation of age-specific survival from incomplete mark-recapture/recovery data with covariates
    Fernando Colchero, Owen Jones and Maren Rebke
  • Designing a benthic monitoring programme with multiple conflicting objectives
    Allert Bijleveld, Jan van Gils, Jaap van der Meer, Anne Dekinga, Casper Kraan, Henk van der Veer and Theunis Piersma
  • Category count models for resource management
    Paul Fackler
  • mvabund – an R package for model-based analysis of multivariate abundance data
    David Warton, Yi Wang, Ulrike Naumann, and Stephen Wright
  • Movement ecology of human resource users: using net squared displacement, biased random bridges and resource utilisation functions to quantify hunter and gatherer behaviour
    Sarah Papworth, Nils Bunnefeld, Katie Slocombe and E.J. Milner-Gulland

Issue 2.5 out today

Issue 2.5 of Methods in Ecology and Evolution is published today, and it’s a special 150 page bumper edition!

The tempo of evolution  heads the bill for this issue, with a strong phylogenetic duo in Measuring the temporal structure in serially sampled phylogenies by Rebecca R. Gray, Oliver G. Pybus and Marco Salemi, and A simple polytomy resolver for dated phylogenies by Tyler S. Kuhn, Arne Ø. Mooers and Gavin H. Thomas. The nature of life-history evolution is also examined, with a re-interpretation of the ubiquity of post-reproductive lifespan in Levitis and Lackey’s A measure for describing and comparing postreproductive life span as a population trait.

Two papers describe improved camera trapping methods, leading towards a practical application of the random encounter model in  Quantifying the sensitivity of camera traps: an adapted distance sampling approach (Rowcliffe et al.), and towards a measure for correcting for observer error in Estimating survival in photographic capture–recapture studies: overcoming misidentification error (Morrison et al.).

An innovative use of stable isotope analysis to the problem of tracking carnivore ranges is explored in Tracking large carnivore dispersal using isotopic clues in claws: an application to cougars across the Great Plains by Hénaux et al., while an inexpensive, convenient and widely applicable assay for comparitive analysis of avian immune function is introduced in A simple assay for measurement of ovotransferrin – a marker of inflammation and infection in birds by Horrocks et al. An improved method for raising honeybees in vitro, with potential to improve urgent research on colony collapse disorder, is proposed by Hendriksma et al. in Honey bee risk assessment: new approaches for in vitro larvae rearing and data analyses.

Three papers deal with predicting and modelling range expansions, invasive migrations, and community upheaval  under climate change. Improving prediction and management of range expansions by combining analytical and individual-based modelling approaches, by Travis et al., and A benefit analysis of screening for invasive species – base-rate uncertainty and the value of information, by Sahlin et al., provide useful tools for improved modelling under these uncertain conditions, while by contrast Heating up the forest: open-top chamber warming manipulation of arthropod communities at Harvard and Duke Forests, by Pelini et al., showcases an ingenious experimental setup for artificially simulating global change on a small scale, and in situ.

Population structure and community connectivity are addressed in Powney et al.’s Measuring functional connectivity using long-term monitoring data, and Joppa & Williams’ The influence of single elements on nested community structure.

Two papers on population modelling round off the issue, with Transient sensitivity analysis for nonlinear population models by Taverner et al., and Estimating abundance from presence/absence maps by Wen-Han Hwang and Fangliang He.

Don’t forget that your library can get free access in perpetuity to the first two years of Methods in Ecology and Evolution (including this issue!) by just completing this request form.

Top cited papers – part 2

Here’s part 2 of our look at Methods in Ecology and Evolution’s most highly cited papers to date!

Plant monitoring and modelling

Stable isotope ecology

Community ecology

We covered statistical methods in ecology and evolution, modelling species and the environment, and physiological ecology in part 1 of our look at our most popular papers so far – and on Monday we’ll be rounding off with our top papers in population monitoring, climate change, evolutionary ecology and phylogenetics.

Top cited papers – part 1

ISI has only been indexing Methods in Ecology and Evolution for a short time, but some of our papers are already accumulating an impressive number of citations. Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting our most cited papers across a broad range of fields – just in case they’ve slipped you by.

Statistical methods in ecology & evolution

Modelling species and the environment

Physiological ecology

Check back tomorrow here for part 2, where we’ll be showcasing our top cited papers in plant monitoring and modelling, stable isotope ecology and community ecology, and come back on Monday for part 3, when we’ll be revealing our top papers in  population monitoring, climate change, evolutionary ecology and phylogenetics.

Measuring the importance of species to ecosystems

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.


Estimating seed predation rates

Seed predation plays an important role in global plant demography. In this video, Adam Davis, of the University of Illinois, demonstrates how field experiments and statistical models can can enable the extrapolation of long-term seed predation rates from short-term data.

A full treatment of this can be found in the paper Temporal scaling of episodic point estimates of seed predation to long-term predation rates, recently published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.


Watch the CEE meeting, Integrating ecology into macroevolutionary research

By way of an introduction to this blog post, watch this!

Back in March the Centre for Ecology and Evolution in London organised a meeting that brought together top researchers in macroevolution. The idea of the meeting was to highlight how advances in the study of macroevolution could be made by a closer integration with ecology, and the incoroporation of ecological ideas and ecological models.

The meeting had a terrific line-up of speakers, and a synthesis of the science is now available in Biology Letters.

As with any meeting of course, a limitation was that you had to be in London and free on the days of the symposium: I couldn’t make it as I was in the other side of the country and committed for the whole two days. However, in what is an innovation for evolutionary and ecological research, the organisers of the symposium recorded the talks and have now made them available to watch online. MEE, via our publishers Wiley-Blackwell, we were glad to sponsor the costs of making the talks available online. Not least as it meant that I could watch them!

Having now watched all of the talks, some highlights for me are:

However, all the talks are excellent and really worth watching.

I think this is an excellent resource for the evolutionary community: the videos have been professionally recorded and edited, and are easy and effective to watch. Given the modest costs of doing this, I hope that more meeting organisers will follow this lead.