New ideas

Crowdsourcing papers on species' traits as predictors of their abundances

Back in the blog's early days I did what I still think is a quite nice little post on whether we should expect species' phenotypic traits to predict or explain their abundances. I'm going to be fleshing that post out into a short perspectives-type review paper, mixing...

Another legacy of NCEAS: devalued introverts?

Modern science is increasingly a collaborative enterprise. In ecology, NCEAS was very influential in driving the shift towards collaboration. But The Curious Wavefunction asks a good question: what if one side effect of this shift is to devalue the scientific...

Zombie ideas in ecology: "neutral" = "dispersal limitation"

Following on from the previous post , another way in which community ecologists often misinterpret neutral models is by mixing up neutrality with dispersal limitation. This leads to mistakes like testing for neutrality by testing for a community ecology equivalent of "...

Zombie ideas in ecology: "neutral" = "stochastic"

Recent interest in neutral theory in community ecology has given rise to a zombie idea: that "neutral" and "stochastic" mean the same thing. They don't. It's easy to see where this zombie idea comes from: neutral drift in evolution is a stochastic process, while...

Another peer review reform: Peerage of Science (UPDATED)

Following on from previous posts on reforming peer review (see here , here , and here ), I wanted to note a new peer review service, Peerage of Science . PoS is a private company founded by a trio of Finnish scientists, which combines several proposed peer review...

What if science journals "bid" on manuscripts?

In science, we "match" manuscripts to journals by submitting to them one at a time. If the journal declines the ms, we resubmit elsewhere. This is arguably an inefficient system. Leading journals like Oikos decline the vast majority of mss they receive, and it is not...

The scientific impact of a nation of beavers

Recent changes in the grant application procedures of the US National Science Foundation have prompted much discussion, and have renewed the debate over the best way for governments to fund scientific research. I have argued in favor of the Canadian NSERC system...

Are even the best lectures bad?

Like most profs, I haven't had much formal teacher training. I've had a bit, and I've had some informal training (some of it from my wife, who is a trained teacher). I do care about my teaching, and I'm aware of the large body of research that says that just standing...

Poll: new ideas for the Oikos Blog (and the journal) (UPDATED)

Following up on my previous post looking back at the Oikos Blog's first year and ahead to 2012, here are some ideas I had for new things we might do with the blog. Please vote for the ones you'd like to see happen. You can vote for more than one, and also write in your...

Why are some ecological ideas controversial?

Why are some ideas in ecology much more controversial than others? You might be tempted to say that "Ideas which apparently conflict with other ideas, or with empirical data, will be controversial." But I think that's wrong—in ecology there seems to be very little...

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