Types of ecology paper

With apologies to xkcd. Looking this over again after I wrote it, the overall effect is way more cynical than I intended!

UPDATE: If you liked that, you’ll like this too.

37 thoughts on “Types of ecology paper

  1. To which, I don’t think you should be. This post is a joke, I don’t think it actually holds up as a critique of ecological research. Because you can make any scientific work sound stupid if you simplify it enough. Imagine summarizing the Origin of Species as “Things change.”

  2. I find it interesting (and perhaps revealing) that many of these are sort of a modern “biodiversity” flavor of ecology. Many of the more traditional branches of community ecology and population ecology and behavioral ecology are not represented, so …
    The population that I monitor is (pick one) increasing|decreasing
    Competition is important in my system
    Predation is important in my system
    Anything will eat anything if you observe long enough
    My critters behaved in a semi-optimal fashion but had some surprises

    • “I find it interesting (and perhaps revealing) that many of these are sort of a modern “biodiversity” flavor of ecology. ”

      The only thing that “reveals” is what jokes happened to pop into my head late last Saturday night. 🙂

      +1 for “Anything will eat anything if you observe long enough”.

      For animal behavior, I’d suggest “Inter-individual variation in this behavior is correlated with inter-individual variation in this other behavior”.

  3. I’ve been waiting for someone to do one for ecology. We should really get one going for theoretical ecology too, though now I’m afraid that any joke I come up with might feel too personal for someone whose paper I’ve handled.

  4. I know I can’t infer process from pattern, but I’m going to pretend that I don’t know (and other people do it too)

  5. Okay I don’t know about you all but Ive written 9/12 of these in my career, several of them many times. and isn’t “The way this thing depends on another thing depends on a third thing” the same as “it depends”. My favorite “it depends paper” McNaughton, S. J. (1983). Serengeti grassland ecology: the role of composite environmental factors and contingency in community organization. Ecological monographs, 53(3), 291-320. Then we wrote one modeled on that “Hobbs NT, Schimel DS, Owensby CE, Ojima DS. Fire and grazing in the tallgrass prairie: contingent effects on nitrogen budgets. Ecology. 1991 Aug;72(4):1374-82.” It just all depends.

    • I tried to think of a good meta-analysis one but couldn’t come up with anything I was happy with. Considered just going with “Another meta-analysis”.

  6. Pingback: Science Matters | marymontague

    • Heh, I just had the same idea!

      Would have to combine it with bingo squares appropriate to a remote meeting. Like “pet or child appears in video of talk”. “Zoom background related to the talk”. “Zoom background, but unrelated to the talk”.

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