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Rethinking Ecology
Number of Followers: 0  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2534-9260
Published by Pensoft Homepage  [21 journals]
  • Gender bias when assessing recommended ecology articles

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 3: 1-12
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.3.24333
      Authors : Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Franck Courchamp : Gender bias is still unfortunately rife in the sciences, and men co-author most articles (> 70%) in ecology. Whether ecologists subconsciously rate the quality of their peers’ work more favourably when they are the same gender (homophily) is still unclear. To test this hypothesis, we examined how ecologist editors ranked important ecology articles based on a previously compiled list where they had first each proposed some articles and then voted on all proposed articles. The proportion of female co-authors on the articles proposed by men were lower (0.06 to 0.09) than those proposed by women (0.13 to 0.27), although the data were highly skewed and most proposed articles (77%) had no female co-authors. For the 100 top-ranked articles voted by women or men only, the gender difference remained: female voters ranked articles in the top 100 that had more female co-authors (0.029 to 0.093 proportion women) than did those voted by men (0.001 to 0.029). Female voters tended to rank articles more highly as the number of male co-authors increased, and the relationship between article rank and proportion of male co-authors was even stronger when only men voted. This effect disappeared after testing only articles that editors declared they had actually read. This could indicate a persistent, subconscious tendency toward homophily when assessing the perceived quality of articles that ecologists have not actually read. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 11 Apr 2018 9:39:50 +0300
  • A manifesto for fair and equitable research funding in ecology

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 2: 47-56
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.2.21798
      Authors : Linton Winder, Simon Hodge : The way in which research funding is allocated by both governmental and non-governmental research agencies needs to be revamped to avoid bias and encourage innovation. Known biases in allocation of funding include those driven by gender, race, institution size, geographic location and interdisciplinary study. We also contend that the peer-review process itself provides an apparently fair process, but that the flaws within it work against funding innovative science. We propose an unbiased process that combines the use of short proposals, blinded review and a lottery to allocate funding. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 29 Dec 2017 9:09:52 +0200
  • What does the recovery debt really measure'

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 2: 41-45
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.2.21840
      Authors : Merja Elo, Tuomas Haapalehto, Santtu Kareksela, Janne Kotiaho : Recently, Moreno-Mateos et al. (2017) coined the concept ‘recovery debt’, clearly a close relative of the ecosystem service debt (Isbell et al. 2015), and gave it significance as “the interim reduction of biodiversity and biogeochemical functions occurring during ecosystem recovery”. Using rather impressive dataset consisting 3,035 sampling plots worldwide as an example, they analysed the recovery debt for plant and animal species diversity and abundance as well as for carbon and nitrogen cycling. Based on their analysis Moreno-Mateos et al.  conclude that “… recovering and restored ecosystems have less abundance, diversity and cycling of carbon and nitrogen than ‘undisturbed’ ecosystems …”. Here, we scrutinize the proposed new concept and point out problems in conclusions resulting from the operationalization of the concept. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 6 Nov 2017 10:32:24 +0200
  • The potential of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for precision pest
           control of possums (Trichosurus vulpecula)

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 2: 27-39
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.2.14821
      Authors : Craig G. Morley, James Broadley, Robin Hartley, David Herries, Duncan MacMorran, Ian G. McLean : Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and remote image sensing cameras have considerable potential for use in pest control operations. UAVs equipped with remote sensing cameras could be flown over forests and remnant bush sites, particularly those not currently receiving any pest control, to record the unique spectral signature of the vegetation and to detect the presence of possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and the damage they cause. UAVs could then be deployed to precisely distribute either toxins or kill traps to these identified locations. Predator-free 2050 is an ambitious policy announced by the New Zealand Government where several pests, including possums, are to be eradicated by the year 2050. In order to achieve this goal, pests must be identified, targeted and controlled, requiring creative and novel ideas. UAVs provide flexibility, can fly in remote and difficult terrain, and are considerably cheaper to purchase and operate than the planes and helicopters currently used in conventional aerial pest control operations. Current challenges associated with UAVs include payload capacity, battery limitations, weather, and flying restrictions. However, these issues are rapidly being resolved with sophisticated technological advances and improved regulations. A directed and targeted approach using UAVs is an additional and novel tool in the pest management toolbox that could significantly reduce pest control costs, cover inaccessible areas not receiving any pest management, and will help New Zealand advance towards its predator-free aspiration by 2050. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 23 Oct 2017 8:32:17 +0300
  • With our powers combined: integrating behavioral and genetic data to
           estimate mating success and sexual selection

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 2: 1-26
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.2.14956
      Authors : Zoé Gauthey, Cédric Tentelier, Olivier Lepais, Arturo Elosegi, Laura Royer, Stéphane Glise, Jacques Labonne : The analysis of sexual selection classically relies on the regression of individual phenotypes against the marginal sums of a males × females matrix of pairwise reproductive success, assessed by genetic parentage analysis. When the matrix is binarized, the marginal sums give the individual mating success. Because such analysis treats male and female mating/reproductive success independently, it ignores that the success of a male × female sexual interaction can be attributable to the phenotype of both individuals. Also, because it is based on genetic data only, it is oblivious to unproductive matings, which may be documented by behavioral observations. To solve these problems, we propose a statistical approach which combines matrices of offspring numbers and behavioral observations. It models reproduction on each mating occasion of a mating season as three stochastic and interdependent pairwise processes, each potentially affected by the phenotype of both individuals and by random individual effect: visit of a female by a male, concomitant gamete emission, and offspring production. Applied to data from a mating experiment on brown trout, the model yielded different results from the classical regression analysis, with only a negative effect of female body size on the probability of visit and gamete release, while the classical approach based on regression found a positive effect of male size on the number of both visits and offspring, and no effect of female size. Because the general structure of the model can be adapted to other partitioning schemes of the reproductive process, it can be used for a variety of biological systems where behavioral and genetic data are available. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 9 Aug 2017 11:46:55 +0300
  • Missing the wood for the trees' New ideas on defining forests and
           forest degradation

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 1: 15-24
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.1.13296
      Authors : Jessie C. Buettel, Stefania Ondei, Barry W. Brook : The forest ecology literature is rife with debate about how to: (i) define a ‘forest’ and distinguish it from similar systems, such as woodlands, savannas, parklands or plantations; (ii) identify transitions from ‘forested’ to ‘non-forested’ states and, most challengingly; (iii) quantify intensities of degradation. Here we argue that past attempts to define forests and forest degradation, focusing on attributes of living trees (e.g., height, canopy cover), combined with regenerating processes such as recruitment and succession, whilst useful, are ecologically incomplete. These approaches do not adequately represent processes that, operating over long time scales, determine whether a forest system is structurally healthy (as opposed to degraded), functional and persistent. We support our case using a conceptual model to illustrate how deeper-time processes, as well as instantaneous or chronic disturbances that cause degradation, might be revealed through analysis of the patterns of size structure and density of the fallen wood, in relation to the living trees and standing dead. We propose practical ways in which researchers can incorporate dynamic, long-term processes into definitions of forests and forest degradation, using measurements of dead and fallen trees. Doing so will improve our ability to manage and monitor forest health under global change. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:20:24 +030
  • A response to Pennisi - “How do gut microbiomes help herbivores”, a
           hint into next-generation biocontrol solutions

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 1: 9-13
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.1.12932
      Authors : Marie-Caroline Lefort, Stephane Boyer, Travis R. Glare : In a world where invasive invertebrate species can significantly compromise food security and where a dwindling range of synthetic pesticides remains our principal line of defence, testing a new invasion ecology hypothesis and understanding what makes a phytophagous insect invasive should be regarded as high priority research. Recent advances in microbiology strongly support the crucial and effective role of the gut microbiome in insect growth, development and, most importantly, environmental adaptation to their host plants. On the basis of recent literature, and following Elizabeth Pennisi’s article published in the journal Science, we hypothesis that gut microbiome could be a critical determinant of invasion success in phytophagous insects, and that the uncovering of common traits in the gut microbiome of invasive insects, a “gut microbiome invasiveness signature”, would open new avenues of research towards next-generation biocontrol solutions. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 19 May 2017 9:35:24 +0300
  • Rethinking Ecology – Challenging Current Thinking in Ecological

    • Abstract: Rethinking Ecology 1: 1-8
      DOI : 10.3897/rethinkingecology.1.11230
      Authors : Stephane Boyer, Marie-Caroline Lefort, Linton Winder : Rethinking Ecology is a new open access, peer-reviewed journal that aims at fostering both forward-thinking and the publication of novel ideas in all aspects of ecology, evolution and environmental science. This editorial briefly presents the rationale, unique features and the aspiration of the journal. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 22 Nov 2016 10:51:08 +020
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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