New ideas

Why shoot yourself in the foot?

******************************* A while back I polled readers to ask what new features they'd like to see on the Oikos blog. One popular choice was guest posts by authors of recent and forthcoming Oikos papers. Ask and ye shall receive: here's the first one! It's by...

From the archives: defending microcosm experiments

A microcosm paper on which I am a co-author just got rejected. Which seems as good an excuse as any to repost this , in which I shoot down all the commonly-voiced blanket objections to microcosms in ecology. I have yet to hear a convincing unconditional objection to...

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Price equation

...is covered in this review by the great Steven Frank . I know some readers think of me as 'that Price equation guy'. But what I know (and continue to learn) about the Price equation, I mostly got from reading (and continuing to ponder) Steven Frank's stuff. This one...

The paradigm of 'paradigm shifts' turns 50

Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is 50 years old this year. It's one of the most famous books on philosophy of science ever published, and one of the only ones to become well-known (albeit usually in a second-hand way) among scientists themselves...

Zombie ideas about disturbance: a dialogue (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Just to be clear, disturbance, and environmental variability more generally, can promote stable coexistence. They just can't do so via the mechanisms that the Professor is trying to teach in this dialogue. I've been clear about this in previous posts , but it...

Succeeding in academia: being good vs. being lucky

I've written about how I was very lucky to get a tenure-track academic position. To complement that anecdote, here's some discussion from NeuroDojo of an actual data-based study of how luck vs. talent determined the career outcomes for 300 physicists tracked over 20...

On science for science's sake

In my post on justifying fundamental research , I didn't argue for fundamental research just for its own sake. Not because I don't buy that argument, but just because it's a very hard argument to make well. It can easily come off as "just give me money to do whatever...

From the archives: are some general ecological concepts TOO general?

The most important ideas in ecology are general, broadly-relevant ideas, not narrow, parochial ones. But can you have too much of a good thing? Is there such as thing as an overly general idea? Here's an old post in which I argue that there is, and that the most highly...

Is the time right for NCEAS 2.0?

Apparently there was much talk at the closing NCEAS symposium about "NCEAS 2.0"--a successor institute and what it might look like. This is a really interesting conversation from which I'm far removed (I never had any involvement with NCEAS), so this post is basically...

Trying to save a zombie idea (UPDATED)

In a previous post I commented that it would be interesting to see whether the very nice paper by Adler et al. (2011) on diversity-productivity relationships in terrestrial grasslands would finally kill off the zombie idea that diversity generally is a humped function...

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