Tony Ives is a very deserving winner of the MacArthur Award, given to an outstanding mid-career ecologist in recognition of excellent past research and in anticipation of future excellent research. I’m a big fan of Tony’s work. He’s a population and community ecologist, working mostly at the theoretical end of the theory-data interface. Tony’s models often are tailored to the details of particular systems or situations, thereby making them highly testable. But Tony’s anything but a “stamp collector”: he’s great at extracting general insights from such models, great at explaining how whatever specific situation he’s considering is merely one instance of some far more general phenomenon. The other thing that impresses me about Tony’s stuff is the wide range of systems he’s worked in, and the wide range of problems to which he’s turned his attention. He’s worked on insect predator-prey dynamics, he’s worked on community dynamics of lake zooplankton and phytoplankton, he’s worked on phylogenetic comparative methods, he’s worked on statistical methods for time series analysis, and more. And he’s a wonderful writer, one of the very best explainers around. Reading Tony’s stuff makes you feel like a genius, like everything’s obvious to you–when of course, it’s only obvious to you because Tony pointed it out to you and walked you through it. And while I don’t know him that well (we’ve only chatted a few times at meetings), and it’s not one of the award criteria, he’s a really nice guy. 😉
A few of my favorite Tony Ives papers (it was really hard to choose!):
- Ives, A. R., S. T. Woody, E. V. Nordheim, C. Nelson, and J. H. Andrews. 2004. The synergistic effects of stochasticity and dispersal on population densities. American Naturalist 163: 375-387.
- Ives, A. R., A. Einarsson, V. A. A. Jansen, and A. Gardarsson. 2008. High-amplitude fluctuations and alternative dynamical states of midges in Lake Myvatn. Nature 452:84-87.
- Ives, A. R., K. C. Abbott, and N. L. Ziebarth. 2010. Analysis of ecological time series with ARMA(p,q) models. Ecology 91:858-871.
- Ziebarth, N. L., K. C. Abbott, and A. R. Ives. 2010. Weak population regulation in ecological time series. Ecology Letters 13:21-31.
- Ives, A. R., B. Dennis, K. L. Cottingham, and S. R. Carpenter. 2003. Estimating community stability and ecological interactions from time-series data. Ecological Monographs 73: 301-330.
- Schooler, S. S., B. Salau, M. H. Julien, and A. R. Ives. 2011. Alternative stable states explain unpredictable biological control of salvinia in Kakadu. Nature 470:86-89.
It should probably be Meg writing this post, since she’s actually co-authored papers with Tony. Hopefully she’ll chime in in the comments.