Process, Mechanism, and Modeling in Macroecology – University of Copenhagen

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23 December 2017

Process, Mechanism, and Modeling in Macroecology

Published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution by Connolly, S. R., Keith. S. A., Colwell, R. K., Rahbek, C.

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.

Read the full Opinion (link)

Reply to response December 2017

Published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution by Connolly, S. R., Keith. S. A., Colwell, R. K., Rahbek, C.

Mechanism, Process, and Causation in Ecological Models: A Reply to McGill and Potochnik (link)