I just finished the Powerpoint for the lecture, and I though some might like to see an explanation of the model that under girds all the public policy decisions, where R0 comes from, and how this metric influences Social Distancing, among other things.
Category: Ecology Page 1 of 2
(This post was first published on the AmNat150.org website)
The American Naturalist was first published in March 1867. Over the last 150 years, AmNat has had 16 different covers. Below is a gallery of those covers, with the dates they were used. Click on any image to bring up the full-sized gallery.
One of the fascinating features to trace through the covers is how the motto of the journal changed through the years.
I used to be the Editor-in-Chief of the American Naturalist, one of the oldest scientific journals in North America. The American Naturalist published its first issue two years before Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species, and I think that AmNat, as it’s affectionately called, is the world’s best journal for papers in evolution (and ecology and behavior).
Today, our Managing Editor, Trish Morse, brought to my attention some of the best evidence of AmNat‘s significance. AmNat is number 113 on the list of sources most cited by the Oxford English Dictionary. Only 6 other scientific publications are ahead of us on the list. That seems like a much better measure of the importance of a scientific journal’s contribution to knowledge than Impact Factors or other so-called measures of importance.
One of the foundational concepts in modern ecology is the formulation of the “niche” by G. Evelyn Hutchinson. Hutchinson defined his conception of the niche famously as an “N-dimensional hypervolume” of environmental variables that describe where a species can maintain a population. You can find a (pirated) pdf of this seminal paper here or the Cold Spring Harbor site if your conscience is bothering you and want to pay for it because you don’t have a library subscription.
When I read this paper in graduate school, I was dumbfounded to find one of the most glaring typographical errors I had ever seen in the scientific literature. In this paper, the plain text on the page says that the realized niches of co-occurring species are non-interesting.
Here’s the Presidential Address I gave at the 2016 American Society of Naturalists annual meeting in Austin, Texas.
For every new graduate student, the first major headache is what their dissertation will be about. In many areas of science, graduate students have very little choice. The laboratory leader essentially assigns a topic to the student, based on funding requirements and the laboratory structure.
However, in ecology, evolution and behavior, most laboratories still work on the principle that each graduate student must develop their own thesis topic. Of course this is done in consultation with their dissertation supervisor, and it is often closely associated with other research that is being done by others in the laboratory. It may even form a part of the larger project of the laboratory. However, the student must develop the questions. In this post, I want to discuss the two main ways that students in these disciplines approach this most important of problems for them.
See nature with a naturalist’s eye,
translate that vision into a theoretician’s perspective,
and explore that perspective with a zeal
to integrate mechanisms across disciplinary boundaries.
Coexistence of multiple species is one of the central problems of community ecology. We all know of many different ecological systems where the diversity of species found living together is bewildering. However, models of species interactions suggest that coexistence of these species (in the strict ecological sense) is extremely difficult and requires very particular conditions.