Meaningful Monitoring or Monitoring for the Sake of Monitoring? epower Helps You Tell the Difference

Post provided by REBECCA FISHER and GLENN R SHIELL

As environmental managers, we’re frequently asked to make judgements about the relative health of the environment. This is often difficult because, by its nature, the environment is highly variable in space and time. Ideally, such judgements should be informed by robust scientific investigation, or more precisely, the reliable interpretation of the resulting data.

Type I and Type II Errors

Even with robust investigations and good data, our interpretations can sometimes be wrong. In general, this happens when:

  • the investigation concludes that an impact has occurred, when in fact it hasn’t (Type I error)
  • fails to detect an impact, when an impact has actually occurred (Type II error).

Understanding the circumstances that lead to these errors is unfortunately complicated, and difficult unless you have a strong statistical background. Continue reading

Issue 6.2

Issue 6.2 is now online!

The February issue of Methods is now online!

This month we have two applications articles. Both are free to access, no subscription required.

– NLMpy: A PYTHON software package for the creation of neutral landscape models (there are also two videos associated to this paper on our Youtube channel)

BAT an R package for the measurement and estimation of alpha and beta taxon, phylogenetic and functional diversity

There are also two OnlineOpen articles in this month’s issue. Power analysis for generalized linear mixed models in ecology and evolution, by Paul C. D. Johnson,Sarah J. E. Barry, Heather M. Ferguson and Pie Müller, focuses on why and how we use power analysis for GLMMs using simulations more than we should.

Our second Open Access article is also the source of our cover image, which shows the ciliate protist Paramecium caudatum (about 0.25 mm long). Protist species like this are commonly found in aquatic habitats and offer a unique study system to test ecological and evolutionary concepts. The protist was isolated from a natural pond and subsequently used for microcosm experiments, which have a long tradition in order to test ecological and evolutionary concepts.

In the accompanying review paper, Florian Altermatt et al. describe a wide range of available techniques to use this and many other protists species to conduct microcosm experiments. The review paper gives detailed protocols of available techniques with a focus on modern, high-frequency and high-throughput measurements, and outlines how such microcosm experiments may be used to address a wide range of questions.

This comprehensive guide to using protist microcosms as a model system in ecology and evolution in ‘Big answers from small worlds‘, which is available free of charge.
Photo © Regula Illi and Florian Altermatt.

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.