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Improved probability of detection of ecological "surprises"

Likens, Gene E.; Krebs, C.J.; Hobbs, Richard; Lindenmayer, David B

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Ecological "surprises" are defined as unexpected findings about the natural environment. They are critically important in ecology because they are catalysts for questioning and reformulating views of the natural world, help shape assessments of the veracity of a priori predictions about ecological trends and phenomena, and underpin questioning of effectiveness of resource management. Despite the importance of ecological surprises, major gaps in understanding remain about how studies might be...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorLikens, Gene E.
dc.contributor.authorKrebs, C.J.
dc.contributor.authorHobbs, Richard
dc.contributor.authorLindenmayer, David B
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T22:59:30Z
dc.identifier.issn0027-8424
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/61118
dc.description.abstractEcological "surprises" are defined as unexpected findings about the natural environment. They are critically important in ecology because they are catalysts for questioning and reformulating views of the natural world, help shape assessments of the veracity of a priori predictions about ecological trends and phenomena, and underpin questioning of effectiveness of resource management. Despite the importance of ecological surprises, major gaps in understanding remain about how studies might be done differently or done better to improve the ability to identify them. We outline the kinds of ecological surprises that have arisen from long-term research programs that we lead in markedly different ecosystems around the world. Based on these case studies, we identify important lessons to guide both existing studies and new investigations to detect ecological surprises more readily, better anticipate unusual ecological phenomena, and take proactive steps to plan for and alleviate "undesirable" ecological surprises. Some of these lessons include: (i) maintain existing, and instigate new, long-term studies; (ii) conduct a range of kinds of parallel and concurrent research in a given target area; (iii) better use past literature and conceptual models of the target ecosystem in posing good questions and developing hypotheses and alternative hypotheses; and (iv) increase the capacity for ecological research to take advantage of opportunities arising from major natural disturbances. We argue that the increased anticipatory capability resulting from these lessons is critical given that ecological surprises may become more prevalent because of climate change and multiple and interacting environmental stressors.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherNational Academy of Sciences (USA)
dc.sourcePNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
dc.subjectKeywords: biodiversity; ecological phenomena and functions; ecology; ecosystem; forest; grassland; medical literature; medical research; priority journal; resource management; review; United States; Conservation of Natural Resources; Ecology; Ecosystem
dc.titleImproved probability of detection of ecological "surprises"
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolumeonline November 23
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.absfor050102 - Ecosystem Function
local.identifier.absfor050206 - Environmental Monitoring
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4279067xPUB588
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationLindenmayer, David, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationLikens, Gene E., College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationKrebs, C.J., University of British Columbia
local.contributor.affiliationHobbs, Richard, University of Western Australia
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage6
local.identifier.doi10.1073/pnas.1015696107
local.identifier.absseo960599 - Ecosystem Assessment and Management not elsewhere classified
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T10:52:06Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-78650632223
local.identifier.thomsonID000285521800008
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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