Category: Science

Ecological “bright spots” and the challenge of residuals-based assessment

The bright spots approach aims to assess the performance of managed ecosystems by comparing certain ecological outcomes, while controlling for other known drivers of the outcome via a statistical model; in effect, ranking sites based on their residuals from the fitted model. While the method has the potential to reduce bias in comparing different sites, the resulting assessment may come with high variance.

The conservation value of migration bottlenecks: A case study from the Strait of Messina

Migration bottlenecks provide researchers with fascinating opportunities to study animal movement ecology. Advances in technology enable the dissemination of migratory ground-speed data in relation to independent variables such as weather conditions and time of day. I spent a week in the region of Calabria, Italy monitoring raptor migrations over the Strait of Messina bottleneck. In a single field day over 1,382 migratory raptors were counted; approximately 80% of these were European Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus). This post identifies Europe’s most important migratory raptor bottlenecks and highlights the threats facing migratory avifauna.

What to measure from plants in predator exclosure studies?

Insectivorous birds and bats help plants by removing herbivorous arthropods. Predator exclosures around the plants are needed to study this. What could be measured of the plants inside the exclosures and in uncaged controls? There are several possibilities that are listed in this post. There is need for more plant measurements in predator exclosure studies, especially in the natural tropical forests.

Let’s talk career paths

Career paths in academia too often take a linear trajectory, especially in ecology. This post
explores how they impact equality and diversity in our field and why we should start a conversation about it with the aim to change this.