Advertisement

Introduction - Unprecedented Challenges in Ecological Research: Past and Present

  • ShiLi Miao
  • Susan Carstenn
  • Martha Nungesser

Unprecedented Challenges in Ecological Research

The focus of ecological research has been changing in fundamental ways as the need for humanity to address large-scale environmental perturbations and global crises increasingly places ecologists in the limelight. Ecologists are asked to explain and help mitigate effects from local to global scale issues, such as climate change, wetlands loss, hurricane devastation, deforestation, and land degradation. The traditional focus of ecology as “the study of the causes of patterns in nature” (e.g., Tilman 1987) has shifted to a new era in which ecological science must play a greatly expanded role in improving the human condition by addressing the sustainability and resilience of socio-ecological systems (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2003, Palmer et al. 2004). In the twenty-first century, scientists studying ecological science are required not only to understand mechanisms of ecosystem change and develop new ecological theories but also to...

Keywords

Inverse Analysis Unprecedented Challenge River Restoration Project Woody Plant Encroachment BACI Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgement

We thank the South Florida Water Management District for supporting the Fire project that stimulated our investigation of the issues that eventually inspired us to pursue collaboration on this book, and for support for the book project. We also thank Hawaii Pacific University for providing release time for S. Carstenn. We appreciate C. Stow’s generous contribution of his time for reviewing and raising important questions, J. Grace’s enthusiastic support and discussion of statistical issues, critical comments from S. Carpenter and P. Leavitt on earlier drafts of this chapter, and S. Bousquin, D. Peters, B. Bestelmeyer, and A. Knapp for providing some references.

References

  1. Abbott, S. 1966. Microcosm studies of estuarine waters: The replicability of microcosms. Journal of Water Pollution Control Federation 1:258–270.Google Scholar
  2. Abbott, S. 1967. Microcosm studies of estuarine waters: The effects of single doses of nitrate and phosphate. Journal of Water Pollution Control Federation 2:113–122.Google Scholar
  3. Aguiar, M. R. and O. E. Sala. 1999. Patch structure, dynamics and implications for the functioning of arid ecosystems. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 14:273–277.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, D. H. and B. D. Dugger. 1998. A Conceptual Basis for Evaluating Restoration Success. American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference, Lake Placid, FL.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, D. R., K. P. Burnham, and W. L. Thompson. 2000. Null hypothesis testing: problems, prevalence, and an alternative. The Journal of Wildlife Management 64:912–923.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnett, D. T. and T. J. Stohlgren. 2003. A nested-intensity design for surveying plant diversity. Biodiversity and Conservation 12:255–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beier, C. and L. Rasmussen. 1994. Effects of whole-ecosystem manipulations on ecosystem internal processes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 9:218–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bernstein, B. B. and J. Zalinski. 1983. An optimum sampling design and power tests for environmental biologists. Journal of Environmental Management 16:35–43.Google Scholar
  9. Beyers, R. J. 1963. The metabolism of twelve aquatic laboratory microcosms. Ecological Monographs 33:255–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bormann, F. H., G. E. Likens, D. W. Fisher, and R. S. Pierce. 1968. Nutrient loss accelerated by clear cutting of a forest ecosystem. Science 159:882–884.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bousquin, S. G., D. H. Anderson, D. J. Colangelo, and G. E. Williams. 2005. Introduction to baseline studies of the channelized Kissimmee River. Establishing a Baseline: Pre-Restoration Studies of the Channelized Kissimmee River 1:1.1–1.19.Google Scholar
  12. Box, G. E. P. and G. C. Tiao. 1965. A change in level of a nonstationary time series. Biometrika 52:181–192.Google Scholar
  13. Box, G. E. P. and G. C. Tiao. 1975a. Intervention analysis with applications to economic and environmental problems. Journal of the American Statistical Association 70:70–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Box, G. E. P. and G. C. Tiao. 1975b. Intervention analysis with applications to economic and environmental problems. Journal of the American Statistical Association 70:70–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carpenter, S., N. F. Caraco, D. L. Correll, R. W. Howarth, A. N. Sharpley, and V. H. Smith. 1998. Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecological Applications 8:559–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carpenter, S. R. 1990. Large-scale perturbations: Opportunities for innovation. Ecology 71:2038–2043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carpenter, S. R. 1996. Microcosm experiments have limited relevance for community and ecosystem ecology. Ecology 77:677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carpenter, S. R. 1998. The need for large-scale experiments to assess and predict the response of ecosystems to perturbation. Pages 287–312 in M. L. Pace and P. M. Groffman, editors. Limitations and frontiers in ecosystem science. Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  19. Carpenter, S. R., T. M. Frost, D. Heisey, and T. K. Kratz. 1989. Randomized intervention analysis and the interpretation of whole-ecosystem experiments. Ecology 70:1142–1152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carpenter, S. R. and M. G. Turner. 1998. At last: A journal devoted to ecosystem science. Ecosystems 1:1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clark, D. A., S. Brown, D. W. Kicklighter, J. Q. Chambers, J. R. Thomlinson, J. Ni, and E. A. Holland. 2001a. Net primary production in tropical forests: an evaluation and synthesis of existing field data. Ecological Applications 11:371–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Clark, J. S. 2005. Why environmental scientists are becoming Bayesians. Ecology Letters 8:2–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Clark, J. S., S. R. Carpenter, M. Barber, S. Collins, A. Dobson, J. A. Foley, D. M. Lodge, M. Pascual, R. Pielke Jr., W. Pizer, C. Pringle, W. V. Reid, K. A. Rose, O. Sala, W. H. Schlesinger, D. H. Wall, and D. Wear. 2001b. Ecological forecasts: An emerging imperative. Science 293:657–660.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Cole, J., G. Lovett, and S. Findlay, editors. 1991. Comparative analyses of ecosystems: patterns, mechanisms and theories. Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  25. Edmisten, J. 1970. Studies of Phytolacca icosandra. Pages D183–188 in H. T. Odum and R. F. Pigeon, editors. A Tropical Rainforest. U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.Google Scholar
  26. Ellis, J. I. and D. C. Schneider. 1997. Evaluation of a gradient sampling design for environmental impact assessment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 48:157–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ellison, A. M. 1996. An introduction to Bayesian inference for ecological research and environmental decision-making. Ecological Applications 6:1036–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ellison, A. M. 2004. Bayesian inference in Ecology. Ecology Letters 7:509–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Forbes, S. A. 1887. The lake as a microcosm. Bulletin of the Science Association of Peoria 15:537–550.Google Scholar
  30. Germano, J. D. 1999. Ecology, statistics, and the art of misdiagnosis: The need for a paradigm shift. Environmental Reviews 7:167–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grace, J. B., editor. 2006. Structural equation modeling and natural systems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  32. Grace, J. B., L. K. Allain, H. Q. Baldwin, A. G. Billock, W. R. Eddleman, A. M. Given, C. W. Jeske, and R. Moss. 2005. Effects of prescribed fire in the coastal prairies of Texas. USGS Open File Report 2005–1287.Google Scholar
  33. Green, J. L., A. Hastings, P. Arzberger, F. J. Ayala, K. L. Cottingham, K. Cuddington, F. Davis, J. A. Dunne, M.-J. Fortin, L. Gerber, and M. Neubert. 2005. Complexity in ecology and conservation: Mathematical, statistical, and computational challenges. BioScience 55:501–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Green, R. H. 1979. Sampling Design and Statistical Methods for Environmental Biologists. John Wiley & Sons, University of Western Ontario.Google Scholar
  35. Gurevitch, J., P. S. Curtis, and M. H. Jones. 2001. Meta-analysis in ecology. Advanced Ecological Research 32:199–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hargrove, W. W. and J. Pickering. 1992. Pseudoreplication: A sine qua non for regional ecology. Landscape Ecology 6:251–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hasler, A. D., O. M. Brynildson, and W. T. Helm. 1951. Improving conditions for fish in brown-water bog lakes by alkalization. Journal of Wildlife Management 15:347–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hassett, B., M. Palmer, E. Bernhardt, S. Smith, J. Carr, and D. Hart. 2005. Restoring watersheds project by project: trends in Chesapeake Bay tributary restoration. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3:259–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Havstad, K. M., L. F. Huenneke, and W. H. Schlesinger, editors. 2006. Structure and function of a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem: the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research site. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  40. Hedges, L. V. and I. Olkin. 1985. Statistical methods for meta-analysis. Academic Press, Orlando, Florida, USA.Google Scholar
  41. Hewitt, J. E., S. E. Thrush, and V. J. Cummings. 2001. Assessing environmental impacts: Effects of spatial and temporal variability at likely impact scales. Ecological Applications 11:1502–1516.Google Scholar
  42. Hewitt, J. E., S. F. Thrush, P. K. Dayton, and E. Bonsdorff. 2007. The effect of spatial and temporal heterogeneity on the design and analysis of empirical studies of scale-dependent systems. The American Naturalist 169:398–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hilborn, R. and C. J. Walters. 1981. Pitfalls of environmental baseline and process studies. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 2:265–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hilty, L. M., P. Arnfalkb, L. Erdmannc, J. Goodmand, M. Lehmanna, and P. A. Wägera. 2006. The relevance of information and communication technologies for environmental sustainability – A prospective simulation study. Environmental Modelling and Software 21:1618–1629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hobbs, N. T. and R. Hilborn. 2006. Alternatives to statistical hypothesis testing in ecology: A guide to self teaching. Ecological Applications 16:5–19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Holl, K. D., E. E. Crone, and C. B. Schultz. 2003. Landscape restoration: Moving from generalities to methodologies. BioScience 53:491–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hunt, R. and J. H. C. Cornelissen. 1997. Components of relative growth rate and their interrelations in 59 temperate plant species. New Phytologist 135:395–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hurlbert, S. H. 1984. Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecological Monographs 54:187–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Hutchinson, B. E. 1964. The lacustrine microcosm reconsidered. American Science 52:334–341.Google Scholar
  50. Johnson, D. H. 1999. The insignificance of statistical significance testing. Journal of Wildlife Management 63:763–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Keough, J. M. and G. P. Quinn. 2000. Legislative vs. practical protection of an intertidal shoreline in Southeastern Australia. Ecological Applications 10:871–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. King, D. A. 1991. Correlations between biomass allocation, relative growth rate and light environment in tropical forest saplings. Functional Ecology 5:485–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lamon, E. C. and C. A. Stow. 2004. Bayesian methods for regional-scale lake eutrophication models. Water Research 38:2764–2774.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Lamon III, E. C., S. R. Carpenter, and C. A. Stow. 1998. Forecasting PCB concentrations in Lake Michigan Salmonids: A dynamic linear model approach. Ecological Applications 8:659–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Legendre, P., M. R. T. Dale, M.-J. Fortin, J. Gurevitch, M. Hohn, and D. Meyers. 2002. The consequences of spatial structure for the design and analysis of ecological field surveys. Ecography 25:601–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Likens, G. E. 1985. An experimental approach for the study of ecosystems: The Fifth Tansley Lecture. Journal of Ecology 73:381–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Likens, G. E., F. H. Bormann, N. M. Johnson, D. W. Fisher, and R. S. Pierce. 1970. Effects of forest cutting and herbicide treatment on nutrient budgets in the Hubbard Brook watershed-ecosystem. Ecological Monographs 40:23–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Martin, J. H., K. H. Coale, K. S. Johnson, S. E. Fitzwater, R. M. Gordon, S. J. Tanner, C. N. Hunter, V. A. Elrod, J. L. Nowicki, T. L. Coley, R. T. Barber, S. Lindley, A. J. Watson, K. Van Scoy, C. S. Law, M. I. Liddicoat, R. Ling, T. Stanton, J. Stockel, C. Collins, A. Anderson, R. Bidigare, M. Ondrusek, M. Latasa, F. J. Millero, K. Lee, W. Yao, J. Z. Zhang, G. Friederich, C. Sakamoto, F. Chavez, K. Buck, Z. Kolber, R. Greene, P. Falkowski, S. W. Chisholm, F. Hoge, R. Swift, J. Yungel, S. Turner, P. Nightingale, A. Hatton, P. Liss, and N. W. Tindale. 1994. Testing the iron hypothesis in ecosystems of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Nature 371:123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Martin, J. H., M. Gordon, and S. Fitzwater. 1990. Iron in Antarctic waters. Nature 345:156–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Maurer, B. A. 1998. Research: Ecology-Ecological science and statistical paradigms at the threshold. Science 279:502–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. McBride, G. B. 2002. Statistical methods helping and hindering environmental science and management. Journal of Agricultural Biological and Environmental Statistics 7:300–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. McBride, G. B., J. C. Loftis, and N. C. Adkins. 1993. What do significance tests really tell us about the environment? Environmental Management 17:423–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. McCarthy, M. A., editor. 2007. Bayesian Methods for Ecology, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  64. McIntosh, R. P. 1985. The background of ecology: Concept and Theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  65. McNaughton, S. J. and F. S. Chapin, III. 1985. Effects of phosphorus nutrition and defoliation on C4 graminoids from the Serengeti Plains. Ecology 66:1617–1629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Miao, S. and S. Carstenn. 2006. A new direction for large-scale experimental design and analysis. Frontiers in Ecology 4:227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Miao, S. L. and S. Carstenn. 2005. Assessing long-term ecological effects of fire and natural recovery in a phosphorus enriched Everglades wetlands: cattail expansion phosphorus biogeochemistry and native vegetation recovery. . West Palm Beach, Florida.Google Scholar
  68. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2003. Ecosystems and human well-being. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.Google Scholar
  69. Mitsch, W. J., X. Wu, R. W. Nairn, P. E. Weihe, N. Wang, R. Deal, and C. E. Boucher. 1998. Creating and restoring wetlands: a whole-ecosystem experiment in self-design. BioScience 48:1019–1030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Morrisey, D. J. 1993. Environmental impact assessment—a review of its aims and recent developments. Marine Pollution Bulletin 26:540–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Niswander, S. F. and W. J. Mitsch. 1995. Functional analysis of a two-year-old created in-stream wetland: Hydrology, phosphorus retention, and vegetation survival and growth. Wetlands 15:212–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Odum, E. P. and H. T. Odum. 1955. Trophic structure and productivity of a windward coral reef community on Eniwetok Atoll. Ecological Monographs 35:291–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Odum, H. T. 1955. Trophic structure and productivity of Silver Springs, Florida. Ecological Monographs 27:55–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Odum, H. T., K. C. Ewel, W. J. Mitsch, and J. W. Ordway. 1977. Recycling treated sewage through cypress wetlands. Pages 35–67 in F. M. D'Itri, editor. Wastewater Renovation and Reuse. Marcel Dekker, New York.Google Scholar
  75. Osenberg, C. W. and R. J. Schmitt, editors. 1996. Detecting ecological impacts caused by human activities. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  76. Palmer, M., E. Bernhardt, E. Chornesky, S. Collins, A. Dobson, C. Duke, B. Gold, R. Jacobson, S. Kingsland, R. Kranz, M. Mappin, M. L. Martinez, F. Micheli, J. Morse, M. Pace, M. Pascual, S. Palumbi, O. J. Reichman, A. Simons, A. Townsend, and M. Turner. 2004. Ecology for a crowded planet. Science 304:1251–1252.Google Scholar
  77. Pawitan, Y. 2001. In all likelihood: Statistical modeling and inference using likelihood. Oxford Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK.Google Scholar
  78. Peters, D. P. C., B. T. Bestelmeyer, J. E. Herrick, H. C. Monger, E. Fredrickson, and K. M. Havstad. 2006. Disentangling complex landscapes: new insights to forecasting arid and semiarid system dynamics. BioScience 56:491–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Peters, D. P. C., P. M. Groffman, K. J. Nadelhoffer, N. B. Grimm, S. L. Collins, W. K. Michener, and M. A. Huston. 2008. Living in an increasingly connected world: a framework for continental-scale environmental science. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6: 229–237.Google Scholar
  80. Petersen, J. E., W. M. Kemp, R. Bartleson, W. R. Boynton, C.-C. Chen, J. C. Cornwell, R. H. Gardner, D. C. Hinkle, E. D. Houde, T. C. Malone, W. P. Mowitt, L. Murray, L. P. Sanford, J. C. Stevenson, K. L. Sunderburg, and S. E. Suttles. 2003. Multiscale experiments in coastal ecology: Improving realism and advancing theory. BioScience 53:1181–1197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Pugesek, B. H., A. von Eye, and A. Tomer, editors. 2003. Structural Equation Modeling: Applications in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  82. Reckhow, K. H. 1990. Bayesian inference in non-replicated ecological studies. Ecology 71:2053–2059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Risser, P. and W. J. Parton. 1982. Ecological analysis of a tallgrass prairie: Nitrogen cycle. Ecology 63:1342–1351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Schindler, D. W. 1971. Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and the eutrophication of freshwater lakes. Journal of Phycology 7:321–329.Google Scholar
  85. Schindler, D. W. 1973. Experimental approaches to liminology – an overview. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 30:1409–1413.Google Scholar
  86. Schindler, D. W. 1998. Replication versus realism: The need for ecosystem-scale experiments. Ecosystems 1:323–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Schlesinger, W. L. 1990. Evidence from chronosequence studies for a low carbon-storage potential of soils. Nature 348:232–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Smith, E. P. 2002. BACI design. Pages 141–148 in A. H. El-Shaarawi and W. W. Piegorsch, editors. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics.Google Scholar
  89. Stephens, P. A., S. W. Buskirk, and C. Martínez del Rio. 2006. Inference in ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22:192–197.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Stewart-Oaten, A. and J. R. Bence. 2001. Temporal and spatial variation in environmental impact assessment. Ecological Monographs 71:305–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Stewart-Oaten, A., J. R. Bence, and C. W. Osenberg. 1992. Assessing effects of unreplicated perturbations: no simple solutions. Ecology 73:1396–1404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Stewart-Oaten, A., W. Murdoch, and K. R. Parker. 1986. Environmental impact assessment: “Pseudoreplication” in time? Ecology 67:929–940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Tansley, A. G. 1935. The use and abuse of vegetational concepts and terms. Ecology 16:284–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Tian, H., C. A. Hall, and Y. Qi. 1998. Modeling primary productivity of the terrestrial biosphere in changing environments: Toward a dynamic biosphere model. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 15:541–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Tilman, D. 1987. Secondary succession and the pattern of plant dominance along experimental nitrogen gradients. Ecological Monographs 57:189–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Turner, M. G. 2005. Landscape ecology in North America: Past, present, and future. Ecology 86:1967–1974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Underwood, A. J. 1992. Beyond BACI: The detection of environmental impacts on populations in the real, but variable, world. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 161:145–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Underwood, A. J. 1993. The Mechanics of Spatially replicated sampling programs to detect environmental impacts in a variable world. Australian Journal of Ecology 18:99–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Underwood, A. J. 1994. On Beyond BACI: Sampling designs that might reliably detect environmental disturbances. Ecological Applications 4:3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Vitousek, P. M., J. Aber, R. W. Howarth, G. E. Likens, P. A. Matson, D. W. Schindler, W. H. Schlesinger, and G. D. Tilman. 1997. Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle: Causes and consequences. Issues in Ecology 1:1–16.Google Scholar
  101. Woodwell, G. M. 1979. Leaky ecosystems: Nutrient fluxes and succession in the pine barrens vegetation. Pages 333–343 in R. T. T. Forman, editor. Pine Barrens: Ecosystem and Landscape. Academic Press, Inc., New York, NY.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Florida Water Management District, STA Management DivisionWest Palm BeachUSA
  2. 2.Hawai’i Pacific University, College of Natural SciencesKaneoheUSA
  3. 3.South Florida Water Management District, Everglades DivisionWest Palm BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations