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Zombie ideas: the motivational poster

Why yes, I am procrastinating this morning--why do you ask? Created with this free online tool . Procrastinating readers are encouraged to create and send in their own ecology- or evolution-related mock motivational posters (not necessarily involving zombies). If you...

Questions about "Big Data" in ecology

Thanks to the influence of NCEAS, the internet, advances in computer hardware and software, advances in gene sequencing, the advent of NEON , and probably other factors I'm forgetting, ecology is entering the era of "Big Data". But we're far from the only field that's...

Advice: weak studies of short-term dynamics

In the comments on a previous post, I got into a discussion about the reasons why one might study short-term (i.e. transient) dynamics as opposed to long-term (i.e. asymptotic) dynamics. For instance, one might study a system's short-term response to a single...

Why trust physical scientists? Social scientists? Ecologists?

Physicist Sean Carroll has a terrific post up on why we do--and should--trust the opinions of expert physicists rather than our own opinions, but not the opinions of expert social scientists. Economics blog Noahpinion offers some smart follow-up remarks. Go read them,...

Oikos blog highlights

This blog's been going for a while now and has built up a lot of content. I've heard from a few folks who've found the blog fairly recently and like it a lot, but who don't have time to dig through all the old content. If that describes you, here are a few of my...

Bandwagons in ecology

The bandwagon effect is when people believe or do something just because lots of other people believe or do it, independent of other reasons for believing or doing it (such as empirical evidence or logical argument). Like every science (e.g., astronomy , information...

Yes, the IDH is a zombie: response to Karl Cottenie

Karl Cottenie has a thoughtful post up responding to my post on the zombie idea of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis . That's what I was hoping to do: get people to stop and think, so I'm really glad Karl did so. I thought I respond here, both because my response...

Interview: ecologist Jean Burns

Now up at Sarcozona .

Another legacy of NCEAS: overly-nice ecologists?

Thanks in large part to the influence of NCEAS , more and more ecologists are involved in collaborative research networks these days. Via email, Jason Fridley asks: are these networks making us too nice to each other? You'll naturally be reluctant to tell your...

Carnival of Evolution

The Carnival of Evolution is a monthly compilation of blog posts about all things evolutionary, hosted by a different volunteer each month. The September Carnival is now up, with an overview post written by the host, Henry Gee, a science writer for Nature . A whole...

Oikos article blogged

Over at Distributed Ecology , Ted Hart has a nice discussion of Lima & Berryman's recent Oikos article on positive and negative feedbacks in human population dynamics. The authors argue that the complexities of human behavior and societies create novel sources of...

Inductive vs. deductive research

Students especially should read this post over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on inductive vs. deductive approaches to research. It touches on a range of issues, like whether we should seek simplicity or embrace complexity in our models, whether simple models are...

How hard do you work?

This week's issue of Nature has contrasting stories from two successful biomedical researchers, one of whom works well over 100 hours/week and expects his students and postdocs to do the same, and the other of whom advocates a much more balanced approach based on...

A picture (and caption) is worth a thousand words

If you like my posts for the Oikos blog, you'll like these posters . Especially this one , which is like a highly-distilled version of half my posts.

The University of Calgary: now with fewer zombies!

A colleague of mine here at Calgary read my post on how the intermediate disturbance hypothesis is a zombie idea , and decided to stop teaching the IDH to undergraduate ecology students. Hooray! Now that we're no longer turning our students into zombies, the next step...

Interview with Steve Ellner

Sarcozona has just posted her latest ESA interview , with Steve Ellner. Great stuff. Steve's thoughts on why microcosms are useful very much mirror my own . And he has a very trenchant question at the end about whether much of the putatively "policy-relevant" research...

Video interviews: Jeremy Fox on the Oikos blog and the ESA meeting

Wiley did a couple of short (2 min.) video interviews with me at the ESA meeting; the videos are now online here and here . The first one is about the ESA meeting. In retrospect, if I'd known the video wouldn't be up until after the meeting, I'd have suggested...

Why "The Spandrels of San Marco" isn't a good paper

Stephen Jay Gould & Richard Lewontin's 1979 article "The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme" is one of the most widely-discussed papers in evolutionary biology over the last 40 years (cited over 3700 times...

In which I try to get readers to do my job for me

I'm a little short on ideas for posts at the moment. I'll probably do something on path analysis at some point (if only to start an argument with Jarrett Byrnes ). Maybe something on Bayesian vs. frequentist statistics. And probably some more looks back at classic, or...

Interview with former Oikos editor and author Nick Gotelli

Now up at Sarcozona . One interesting tidbit I didn't know: Nick is a big fan of the work of statistician Brad Efron , and recommends that ecologists should read more of Efron's work. Seems like a good idea to me (if you didn't know, Efron is the guy, along with R. J...

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