Observational Articles: A Tool to Reconstruct Ecological History Based on Chronicling Unusual Events. Boero, F. 2:168+.
Observational Articles: A Tool to Reconstruct Ecological History Based on Chronicling Unusual Events [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Natural history is based on observations, whereas modern ecology is mostly based on experiments aimed at testing hypotheses, either in the field or in a computer. Furthermore, experiments often reveal generalities that are taken as norms. Ecology, however, is a historical discipline and history is driven by both regularities (deriving from norms) and irregularities, or contingencies, which occur when norms are broken. If only norms occured, there would be no history. The current disregard for the importance of contingencies and anecdotes is preventing us from understanding ecological history. We need rules and norms, but we also need records about apparently irrelevant things that, in non-linear systems like ecological ones, might become the drivers of change and, thus, the determinants of history. The same arguments also hold in the field of evolutionary biology, with natural selection being the ecological driver of evolutionary change. It is important that scientists are able to publish potentially important observations, particularly those that are unrelated to their current projects that have no sufficient grounds to be framed into a classical eco-evolutionary paper, and could feasibly impact on the history of the systems in which they occurred. A report on any deviation from the norm would be welcome, from the disappearance of species to their sudden appearance in great quantities. Any event that an ” expert eye” (i.e. the eye of a naturalist) might judge as potentially important is worth being reported.
@article{boeroObservationalArticlesTool2013,
  title = {Observational Articles: A Tool to Reconstruct Ecological History Based on Chronicling Unusual Events},
  author = {Boero, Ferdinando},
  date = {2013-08},
  journaltitle = {F1000Research},
  volume = {2},
  pages = {168+},
  issn = {2046-1402},
  doi = {10.12688/f1000research.2-168.v1},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.2-168.v1},
  abstract = {Natural history is based on observations, whereas modern ecology is mostly based on experiments aimed at testing hypotheses, either in the field or in a computer. Furthermore, experiments often reveal generalities that are taken as norms. Ecology, however, is a historical discipline and history is driven by both regularities (deriving from norms) and irregularities, or contingencies, which occur when norms are broken. If only norms occured, there would be no history. The current disregard for the importance of contingencies and anecdotes is preventing us from understanding ecological history. We need rules and norms, but we also need records about apparently irrelevant things that, in non-linear systems like ecological ones, might become the drivers of change and, thus, the determinants of history. The same arguments also hold in the field of evolutionary biology, with natural selection being the ecological driver of evolutionary change. It is important that scientists are able to publish potentially important observations, particularly those that are unrelated to their current projects that have no sufficient grounds to be framed into a classical eco-evolutionary paper, and could feasibly impact on the history of the systems in which they occurred. A report on any deviation from the norm would be welcome, from the disappearance of species to their sudden appearance in great quantities. Any event that an ” expert eye” (i.e. the eye of a naturalist) might judge as potentially important is worth being reported.},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13475904,bias-toward-primacy-of-theory-over-reality,data,data-sharing,ecology,epistemology,unexpected-effect}
}
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