Why does it matter to conservation decision-making if alternative Qualitative Modelling methods produce contradictory predictions?

Previously, I have written about how the probabilistic approach to Qualitative Modelling (QM) (e.g. Raymond et al. 2011) can lead to contradictory predictions of species response to a management intervention, and how this is similar to the paradoxes of the Principle of Indifference that we find in the philosophy literature. A reviewer of our new manuscript (Kristensen et al. 2019) asked us an interesting and … Continue reading Why does it matter to conservation decision-making if alternative Qualitative Modelling methods produce contradictory predictions?

Relationship between species discovery and extinction probability

What is the relationship between a plant’s historical probability of having being discovered and its probability that it went extinct? All else being equal, species with low abundance are less likely to be collected, and low abundance is both theoretically (e.g. McCarthy et al., 2014) and empirically cited as a good predictor of extinction probability. The empirical relationship has been observed both in general (McKinney, … Continue reading Relationship between species discovery and extinction probability

Fixation probability of birth-death process

The goal is to understand where Eq. 2 of the Supplementary section of Sigmund et al. (2010) came from. We are considering a finite population within which individuals are pursuing different game-theoretic strategies. At each timestep, a pair of individuals is chosen at random, and they engage in a social learning process, where individual $$i$$ will adopt the strategy of individual $$j$$ according … Continue reading Fixation probability of birth-death process

Two new papers about blue tits on Corsica

I recently read two new papers about blue tits in Corsica: Dubuc-Messier et al. (2017 Behav. Ecol.), and Dubuc-Messier et al. (2018 Evol. Biol.). The 2018 paper was interested in whether the differences between the evergreen and deciduous ecotypes on Corsica were genetic or a plastic response to the different habitat types. They took 7-12 day old nestlings and raised them in a common garden, … Continue reading Two new papers about blue tits on Corsica

Moments for a bivariate beta distribution

A common choice for a probability distribution of a probability is the beta distribution. It has the required support between 0 and 1, and with its two parameters we can obtain a pretty wide qualitative range for the probability density function. What should we do if we want to create correlated probabilities? We might look for some kind of multivariate generalisation of the beta distribution, … Continue reading Moments for a bivariate beta distribution

Ecology of information

Collaborators: Kenneth Schmidt, Jacob Johansson, François Massol, Niclas Jonzen. Breeding birds subject to nest-predation will attempt to choose a high quality nesting site with a low density of predators. For example, when recordings of chipmunk calls are played in the forest, ovenbirds will nest away from where the recordings are playing (Eureka Alert). Often models assume perfect information, so that sites are filled from highest … Continue reading Ecology of information

Comparing E/MSY and Chisholm method

Historical data (e.g. sighting records) can be used to estimate historical extinction rates in a variety of ways. The Chisholm et al. (2016) method (earlier post) uses the data to estimate yearly extinction probabilities. The extinctions per million species-years (E/MSY) approach (Pimm et al., 2014) estimates they extinction probability averaged over species-years. Below, I use two small examples to illustrate the similarities and differences between … Continue reading Comparing E/MSY and Chisholm method

The method of confidence belts illustrated

What is a confidence interval, really? We all learnt in undergrad how to find CIs for a standard distribution, but plugging numbers into equations never gave me a deep intuition for what was really going on. A worded definition is probably more helpful. Paraphrasing a bit from Wikipedia, we can think of the meaning of the confidence interval in terms of the procedure that we … Continue reading The method of confidence belts illustrated