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Where the ecological gaps remain, a modelers' perspective

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Fulton, EA, Blanchard, JL ORCID: 0000-0003-0532-4824, Melbourne-Thomas, J, Plaganyi, EE and Tulloch, VJD 2019 , 'Where the ecological gaps remain, a modelers' perspective' , Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7 , pp. 1-22 , doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00424.

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Abstract

Humans have observed the natural world and how people interact with it for millennia.Over the past century, synthesis and expansion of that understanding has occurredunder the banner of the “new” discipline of ecology. The mechanisms considered operatein and between many different scales—from the individual and short time frames, upthrough populations, communities, land/seascapes and ecosystems. Whereas, some ofthese scales have been more readily studied than others—particularly the population toregional landscape scales—over the course of the past 20 years new unifying insightshave been possible via the application of ideas from new perspectives, such as thefields of complexity and network theory. At any sufficiently large gathering (and withsufficient lubrication) discussions over whether ecologists will ever uncover unifying lawsand what they may look like still persist. Any pessimism expressed tends to grow fromacknowledgment that gaping holes still exist in our understanding of the natural worldand its functioning, especially at the smallest and grandest scales. Conceptualization ofsome fundamental ideas, such as evolution, are also undergoing review as global changepresents levels of directional pressure on ecosystems not previously seen in recordedhistory. New sensor and monitoring technologies are opening up new data streams atvolumes that can seem overwhelming but also provide an opportunity for a profusion ofnew discoveries by marrying data across scales in volumes hitherto infeasible. As withso many aspects of science and life, now is an exciting time to be an ecologist.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Fulton, EA and Blanchard, JL and Melbourne-Thomas, J and Plaganyi, EE and Tulloch, VJD
Keywords: ecology, scale, modeling, anthropocene, challenges
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 2296-701X
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00424
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Fulton, Blanchard, Melbourne-Thomas, Plagányi and Tulloch.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution License (CC BY).

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