New ideas

On rhetoric in scientific writing

Scientific papers are infamous for being dry and technical. There are good reasons for that. A scientific paper is supposed to convince the reader of its conclusions on the objective basis of the evidence it presents. What matters, or what is supposed to matter, is...

Where are the wholehearted defenders of the IDH zombies?

One thing I've been struck by, in the responses to my repeated attacks on the zombie ideas that comprise the core of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, is that nobody's come forward with a full-on defense of those ideas--direct counterarguments to any of my...

Carnival of Evolution #41 now up

The latest Carnival of Evolution, a compilation of links to all sorts of evolution-related blogging goodness, is now up at The Mermaid's Tale . If you feel overwhelmed by all the interesting stuff out there that you could be reading, the Carnival is a nice filter--it's...

Zombie ideas in ecology: the unimodal diversity-productivity relationship

Various people have been begging me to do a post on the humped diversity-productivity relationship as a zombie idea--a widely-believed idea that should be dead, but isn't. And since my motto in blogging is "Give the people what they want!"*, here it is! Grime (1973...

Thoughts on NutNet

Nice write-up in Science this week on NutNet ("Nutrient Network"), a huge (68 sites, 12 countries, 6 continents) experiment looking at the effects of nutrient enrichment and mammalian herbivore removal on grassland communities. This ongoing experiment was started six...

More resources on Bayesian vs. frequentist statistics

Deborah Mayo and colleagues have just edited a special issue of Rationality, Markets, and Morals featuring the latest thinking on philosophy of statistics and its links to statistical practice. It's open access and highly recommended (not all the articles are posted...

Frequentist vs. Bayesian statistics: resources to help you choose (UPDATED)

There are two dominant approaches to statistics. Here, I explain why you need to choose one or the other, and link to resources to help you make your choice. Most ecologists use the frequentist approach. This approach focuses on P(D|H), the probability of the data,...

More reasons (and various ways) to fund people, not projects

Writing in Nature , John Ioannidis shows that I'm not the only one who believes it's time to rethink how most granting agencies fund science . And if you claim that we shouldn't even bother talking about this because too many other things depend on the current system,...

Why I don't care what the biggest question in ecology is

Another tidbit from my interview with Sarcozona that got left on the cutting room floor. She asked me what I think is the biggest or most important question in ecology (something like that, anyway). I said that I don't think that way. I think there are lots of...

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...

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