Process, mechanism, and modeling in macroecology

Connolly, Sean R., Keith, Sally A., Colwell, Robert K., and Rahbek, Carsten (2017) Process, mechanism, and modeling in macroecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32 (11). pp. 835-844.

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Abstract

Macroecology has traditionally relied on descriptive characterization of large-scale ecological patterns to offer narrative explanations for the origin and maintenance of those patterns. Only recently have macroecologists begun to employ models termed 'process-based' and 'mechanistic', in contrast to other areas of ecology, where such models have a longer history. Here, we define and differentiate between process-based and mechanistic features of models, and we identify and discuss important advantages of working with models possessing such features. We describe some of the risks associated with process-based and mechanistic model-centered research programs, and we propose ways to mitigate these risks. Giving process-based and mechanistic models a more central role in research programs can reinvigorate macroecology by strengthening the link between theory and data.

Item ID: 51523
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-8383
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE140100020, DNRF096, DNRF VILLIM FONDEN 10114
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2017 07:33
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960599 Ecosystem Assessment and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
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