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The irreducible uncertainty of the demography–environment interaction in ecology

Publiceringsår: 2002
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 221-225
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volym: 269
Nummer: 1488
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Royal Society


The interpretation of ecological data has been greatly improved by bridging the gap between ecological and statistical models. The major challenge is to separate competing hypotheses concerning demography, or other ecological relationships, and environmental variability (noise). In this paper we demonstrate that this may be an arduous, if not impossible, task. It is the lack of adequate ecological theory, rather than statistical sophistication, which leads to this problem. A reconstruction of underlying ecological processes can only be done if we are certain of either the demographic or the noise model, which is something that can only be achieved by an improved theory of stochastic ecological processes. Ignoring the fact that this is a real problem may mislead ecologists and result in erroneous conclusions about the relative importance of endogenous and exogenous factors in natural ecosystems. The lack of correct model identification may also have far-reaching consequences for population management and conservation.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 1471-2954

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