Studying deepwater animals with TrapCam

Two uploads in two days make this a bumper week for Methods in Ecology and Evolution‘s author videos!

In Studying deepwater animals with TrapCam lead author Brett Favaro walks us through the construction of TrapCam, an inexpensive, self-contained camera system designed to deliver high-definition video footage of deepwater animals at depths inaccessible for scuba divers, which does not require ongoing support from a vessel, or need special apparatus to deploy and retrieve.


Brett takes us through the construction of the TrapCam system, followed by footage of the retrival of a unit followingdeployment, and some eerie images obtained by TrapCam in action.

It is hoped that the use of equipment such as this to better understand interactions between deepwater animals, especially those at risk of over-exploitation, could have a significant impact on improving marine conservation. You can read more about the setup, including an evalutaion of its cost effectiveness and performance, in TrapCam: an inexpensive camera system for studying deep-water animals, published online today in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Heating up the forest

In our latest video Shannon Pellini demonstrates experimental equipment designed to simulate the effects of warmer air temperatures on forest ecosystems – and, particuarly, on arthropod communities.

You can read a full account of their experimental methods, and results from two contemporaneous trials at Harvard Forest and Duke Forest, in their recently published paper, Heating up the forest: open-top chamber warming manipulation of arthropod communities at Harvard and Duke Forests.


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.

A year of podcasts and videos

We have been uploading videos and podcasts for a year now – these have proved really popular, both with authors and readers of the journal. I thought I would just take this opportunity to highlight some of the online content that is supporting articles from the first 3 issues:

Our podcasts include:-

We also have video interviews with our authors, including:

What we are hoping to do is to maximise the utility of our published papers for readers, as well as ensure that the methods we publish reach as wide an audience as possible. Please do give feedback on any of our content, and we are always open for suggestions for new ways to promote new methods!

Issue 2 is now online

Issue 2 of Methods in Ecology and Evolution is now online, the table of contents is here.  In this issue there are 14 new papers on:

  • Statistical methods
  • Monitoring & modelling plant populations
  • Telemetry
  • Entomology
  • Modelling wildlife disease
  • Building databases of life-history traits
  • GIS methods

One innovation is that we now have a correspondence site:

From here you can send in correspondence about papers, as well as view other correspondence. We think that this is a really useful feature for a journal devoted to methods: corresp0ndence between authors and readers will be a useful resource, allowing discussion of techniques, refinement of methods, ironing out of problems as well as further suggestions for developments.  We encourage readers and authors to use this to discuss papers. The site is fully moderated so all material appearing should be constructive and useful to all.

The methods digest for the last month will be appearing soon:- delayed largely as a consequence of volcano ash.

Finally do check out the latest podcasts and videos, they are being updated all the time. The very latest video is an interview with Aaron Ellison from his field site!