[Coral-List] push for more reliable research in ecology

Nohora Galvis icri.colombia at gmail.com
Sat Dec 26 15:36:37 UTC 2020

I agree with the need to improve reliability in research to improve coral
reef conservation effectiveness. Most scientists visit coral reef areas to
sample 5-10 transects in 3 days and conclude about what is enough to save
coral reefs.

The role of Citizen Science involving local community is to detail
georeferenced informatión of what is happening in each site. Therefore,
case studies are useful to provide a reliable background about
anthropogenic factors and the respective ecological impact.

It is vital that researchers take into account local secondary information
as well to avoid jumping into conclusions or declaring a discovery that was
considered decades before.

Season's Greetings !!

El jue, dic 17, 2020 14:23, Rupert Ormond via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> escribió:

> Hi Doug, and coral-listers,
> This is certainly an important issue. Human behaviour is highly variable
> and can shift in relation to numerous subtle factors. The ecology of
> many marine organisms can similarly be very variable with time and
> place. In both fields there has been a tendency for researchers to look
> for situations or locations likely to provide evidence that will support
> their fashionable theory - old or new - and then play down evidence
> pointing the other way.
> As the papers you mention highlight, there is also a regular problem in
> ecology with sample size, so very often researchers or referees reject
> other ideas that conflict with the prevailing view, when often had
> larger sample sizes been possible, the data would have supported a more
> complex explanation.
> The behaviour of a given species may also be adaptive and change. As an
> example, I remember very well decades ago running some experiments on
> the feeding behaviour of Crown-of-thorns with about 30 animals all kept
> in separate tanks. We had a very clear statistically significant if
> surprising result. To check, several months later we repeated the
> experiment and got exactly the opposite result, equally clearly. It
> turned out starfish show ingestive conditioning and can alter their
> feeding behaviour dramatically depending on past and recent experience.
> Researchers and journals should both be less ready to reject papers with
> contrary results.
> Rupert
> *Prof. Rupert Ormond**
> *Co-Director, Marine Conservation International
> Hon. Professor, Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology,
> Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
> On 14/12/2020 08:20, Douglas Fenner via Coral-List wrote:
> > Psychology's replication crisis inspires ecologists to push for more
> > reliable research
> >
> >
> https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/12/psychology-s-replication-crisis-inspires-ecologists-push-more-reliable-research
> >
> > By the way, I believe the problem in psychology has been primarily in
> > social psychology experiments, a small part of psychology as a whole.
> >
> > I think this fits with the need to do much better at documenting the
> > identification of species in our research (except in areas of low
> diversity
> > or easily identified groups, and in field surveys where it is
> impossible),
> > as pointed out for insects in the study I pointed to twice.
> Interestingly,
> > there wasn't a single comment online or offline to me about the
> > implications of the insect study for coral reef ecology.  Makes me wonder
> > if maybe people don't have an argument against it, but just prefer to
> > continue doing things the way we always have been, after all it would
> > involve some extra work.  But it goes directly to the question of
> > replicability, you can't replicate a study if the species identification
> > can't be verified and may well be wrong.
> >
> > Survey results suggest that a lot of entomology research could be
> > impossible to replicate
> >
> > https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01541-0%20
> >
> >   Packer, L., Monckton, S. K., Onuferko, T. M. & Ferrari, R. R.
> Validating
> > taxonomic identifications in entomological research.  Insect Conservation
> > and Diversity 11, 1–12 (2018)
> >
> > https://skmonckton.com/Packeretal._2018_Validating.pdf
> >
> > Cheers,  Doug
> >
> >
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