Latest issue and other articles

A dragonfly

Cover image for issue 3.4 © Dennis Paulson.

Issue 3.4

Our latest issue covers an impressive array of subjects: from metabarcoding (with associated presentation), to population genetics and population monitoring (with video explaining a microphone array system). Modelling and monitoring dispersal also features heavily with four articles, one of which is accompanied by a video for a novel telemetry system to track wild animals. Articles also include topics such as transient dynamics, a review on hormone assay, phylogenetic comparative analysis, stable isotopes (featuring our cover article), plant physiology and finally, statistical methods.

About the cover

Stable-isotope ratios measured in migrating animals have proven to be of great value in understanding migration. For example, when a dragonfly emerges from the water, the isotope signature in that water body is fixed in its wing tissues, which thus provide information about its geographic origin. In A dragonfly (δ2H) isoscape for North America: a new tool for determining natal origins of migratory aquatic emergent insects,  Keith Hobson, David Soto, Dennis Paulson, Leonard Wassenaar and John Matthews compared the isotope value from dragonfly wings of known origin with spatially explicit isoscapes based on water isotopes in precipitation. The relationship was strong, confirming the value of the method to study dragonfly migration.

One of the species used in the analysis was Pachydiplax longipennis. This individual was photographed at Red Slough Wildlife Management Area, Oklahoma. Photo © Dennis Paulson.

Early View articles

Also, these recently accepted articles have appeared on Early View:

Rapid determination of comparative drought tolerance traits: using an osmometer to predict turgor loss point by Megan K. Bartlett, Christine Scoffoni, Rico Ardy, Ya Zhang, Shanwen Sun, Kunfang Cao and Lawren Sack

Free application: taxonstand: An r package for species names standardisation in vegetation databases by Luis Cayuela, Íñigo Granzow-de la Cerda, Fabio S. Albuquerque and Duncan J. Golicher

Projecting species’ range expansion dynamics: sources of systematic biases when scaling up patterns and processes by Greta Bocedi, Guy Pe’er, Risto K. Heikkinen, Yiannis Matsinos and Justin M. J. Travis

Review: Temporal dynamics and network analysis by Benjamin Blonder, Tina W. Wey, Anna Dornhaus, Richard James and Andrew Sih

Related

Issue 3.3

Rosefinch with geolocator tag

Cover image for issue 3.3
© Germán Garcia – CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

About the issue

Issue 3.3 contains an amazing number of extra features: three videos, one podcast and one Powerpoint presentation. The topics in the issue range from DNA barcoding, surveys, measuring diversity, population and movement modelling and includes five free applications.

About the cover

Recently developed light-weighed tracking devices for positioning through light intensity pattern (‘geolocation’) have begun to greatly improve our knowledge of animal migration. However, the analysis of geolocator data is impeded by many factors potentially affecting light levels and thus, ultimately the determination of positions. Herein, weather and vegetation are major factors altering the light regime experienced by the animals. The picture shows a Common Rosefinch (Carpodactus erythrinus) featured with a 0.5 gram geolocator device.

In Geolocation by light: accuracy and precision affected by environmental factors Simeon Lisovski and colleagues demonstrated the effect of weather, topography and vegetation on the measurement of day/night length, time of solar midnight/noon and the resulting position estimates using light measurements from stationary geolocators at known places and from geolocators mounted on birds.

Related

Issue 3.2

Aerial photograph of a forest

Cover image for issue 3.2
© Getzin & Wiegand – Biodiversity Exploratories

About the issue

With topics ranging from phylogenetic analysis to statistics and distribution modelling, conservation, citizen science, surveys, genetic and demographic models to avian biology, our issue 3.2 should be of interest to most ecologists and evolutionary biologists. The issue also contains 5 free applications.

About the cover

This very high-resolution image of a beech-dominated forest in central Germany was taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at 250 meter above ground. In this photograph one can clearly recognize individual tree crowns and even smallest gaps. UAVs are increasingly used for ecological surveys because they provide extremely fine resolutions and thus allow the identification of previously undetected object details. Furthermore, UAVs can be considered as very cost-effective tools for the acquisition of data that can be used also very flexibly.

In Assessing biodiversity in forests using very high-resolution images and unmanned aerial vehicles Getzin, Wiegand and Schöning tested the hypothesis that gap-structural information on aerial images can be principally used for the ecological assessment of understorey plant diversity in forests. The authors demonstrate that spatially implicit information on gap shape metrics is indeed sufficient to reveal strong dependency between gap patterns as a filter for incoming light and plant biodiversity. The study highlights that understorey biodiversity can be actively controlled by the spatial quality, and not just quantity, of tree removal. Thus, even under the same quota of tree harvesting, the promotion of complex and irregularly shaped gaps may be beneficial to foster biodiversity in forests.

Related

BaSTA

Our latest video is a must-see for all researchers interested in aging:

Fernando Colchero, Owen Jones and Maren Rebke, Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research, present BaSTA – Bayesian Survival Trajectory Analysis. The authors have put together this beautiful video exploring research on ageing and and how to deal with incomplete data.

Starring Tim Coulson, Imperial College, Fernando Colchero, Owen Jones, Maren Rebke and James Vaupel, Max Plank Institute for Demographic Research, Annette Baudisch, MPIRG for Modeling the evolution of aging, Saskia Hin, Laboratory of historical demography, MPIDR.

It also shows special cuts at the end!

BaSTA is a free application.

Related

Recently accepted articles

We have been very busy in the past couple of weeks and we have a whole range of recently accepted articles:

  • A novel digital telemetry system for tracking wild animals: a field test for studying mate choice in a lekking tropical bird
    Dan Mennill, Stéphanie Doucet, Kara-Anne Ward, Dugan Maynard, Brian Otis and John Burt
  • A general theory of multimetric indices and their properties
    Donald Schoolmaster, James Grace and E. Schweiger
  • Beyond sensitivity: nonlinear perturbation analysis of transient dynamics
    Iain Stott, Dave Hodgson, and Stuart Townley
  • A two-phase sampling design for increasing detection of rare species in occupancy surveys
    Krishna Pacifici, Robert Dorazio and Michael Conroy
  • Metabarcoding of arthropods for rapid biodiversity assessment and biomonitoring
    Douglas Yu, Yingiu Ji, Brent Emerson, Xiaoyang Wang, Chengxi Ye, Chunyan Yang and Zhaoli Ding
  • How to measure and test phylogenetic signal
    Tamara Münkemüller, Sébastien Lavergne, Bruno Bzeznik, Stéphane Dray, Thibaut Jombart, Katja Schiffers and Wilfried Thuiller
  • Statistical evaluation of parameters estimating autocorrelation and individual heterogeneity in longitudinal studies
    Sandra Hamel, Nigel Yoccoz and Jean-Michel Gaillard
  • jPopGen Suite: population genetics analysis of DNA polymorphism from nucleotide sequences with errors
    Xiaoming Liu

They will be soon available on Early View.

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 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

Parasitology

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 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.