Contest! Guess the most cited ecology paper published in the last ten years

So, what do you think is the most cited paper in ecology (the field, not the journal) published in the last ten years? Answer in the comments. No cheating and looking it up!

My own guess was Leibold et al. 2004 (the paper coining the term “metacommunity”), which turns out to be a pretty good guess, but isn’t right. UPDATE: The memory is the first thing to go. As Jon Chase points out in the comments, and as I coincidentally just remembered myself, Wilson 1992 coined the term “metacommunity”. Jon says Hanski and Gilpin 1991 also coined the term independently. I’ve read that book chapter but didn’t recall that they’d coined the term metacommunity, so clearly Jon’s memory is in better shape than mine.

I’ll reveal the top 20 in a post on Aug. 3.

Valuable prize!: First person to guess a paper that’s in the top 5 wins a free beer from me at the upcoming ESA meeting! No, Leibold et al. isn’t in the top 5.

16 thoughts on “Contest! Guess the most cited ecology paper published in the last ten years

  1. Is it “Niche trade-offs, neutrality and community structure: stochastic theory …. Tilman, 2004” (sorry cannot remember the whole title

    • Without revealing whether or not the #1 paper is a review or perspective piece or not, I can tell you that there are both review/perspective papers, and research papers in the top 20.

  2. I’m going to go with: “Effects of Biodiversity on Ecosystem Functioning: A Consensus of Current Knowledge” (Hooper et al., 2005), as it’s a review, on biodiversity AND ecosystem function, and the author list is a who’s who of ecology.

    • A very well-reasoned guess. Published in a prominent venue, too. You’ll just have to wait and see if it’s right!

  3. I’m going to guess Worm et al 2006 – both for it’s diversity-function angle, but because it gets cited by fisheries folk all the time – doubleshot! Looking forward to seeing what they are…

    • Aha! You’re the first person to note that papers at the boundary of two fields can accumulate citations in both fields! Without revealing whether your guess is right, I can tell you that there are papers in the top 20 on the boundary of multiple fields.

  4. My guess is Elith et al. (2006). Ecography.
    Reasoning: (1) it compared a range of methods for developing SDMs, which are used widely in both aquatic and terrestrial research; and (2) it introduced novel methods, which have since been applied more widely.

  5. Hey Jeremy, long time lurker…love the blog! But, I wanted to point out that as a co-author of the Leibold et al. (2004) paper and co-author of a (distantly) forthcoming Princeton Monograph on metacommunities with Leibold…that the Leibold et al. paper didn’t actually coin ‘metacommunity’, but perhaps instead codified the term. The term Metacommunity appears to have been independently coined by a Hanski and Gilpin 1991 book chapter and David Sloan Wilson’s 1992 paper in Ecology.

    • Hi Jon,

      Funny, I just remembered Wilson 1992 yesterday, was going to fix the post today. 😉 I’ve read Hanski and Gilpin 1991 but didn’t recall that they also coined the term.

      Glad you like the blog, thanks!

  6. hi, it’s probably not #1, but i would be surprised if it would not make the top20:
    brown et al 2004: towards a metabolic theory in ecology.

    • A good guess. You’ll have to wait and see how good!

      You all are good guessers, actually. I didn’t think the guesses would be this good…

  7. Hi Jeremy,
    I would also have guessed Hooper et al. 2005. But my new guess for the top 5 would be:

    Finke, D. L. and Denno, R. F. 2004. Predator diversity dampens trophic cascades. Nature 429:407–410.

    Its a high impact journal. The methods of the paper are straightforward. It explains the complexity of predator communities: Anything could happen after random predator extinction. And it is of importance in several fields: predator-prey interactions, food web ecology, biocontrol, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning.

  8. Pingback: And the most cited ecology paper published in the last 10 years is… | Dynamic Ecology

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