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Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny

(2017) ECOLOGY. 98(2). p.583-590
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Abstract
We present new data and analyses revealing fundamental flaws in a critique of two recent meta-analyses of local-scale temporal biodiversity change. First, the conclusion that short-term time series lead to biased estimates of long-term change was based on two errors in the simulations used to support it. Second, the conclusion of negative relationships between temporal biodiversity change and study duration was entirely dependent on unrealistic model assumptions, the use of a subset of data, and inclusion of one outlier data point in one study. Third, the finding of a decline in local biodiversity, after eliminating post-disturbance studies, is not robust to alternative analyses on the original data set, and is absent in a larger, updated data set. Finally, the undebatable point, noted in both original papers, that studies in the ecological literature are geographically biased, was used to cast doubt on the conclusion that, outside of areas converted to croplands or asphalt, the distribution of biodiversity trends is centered approximately on zero. Future studies may modify conclusions, but at present, alternative conclusions based on the geographic-bias argument rely on speculation. In sum, the critique raises points of uncertainty typical of all ecological studies, but does not provide an evidence-based alternative interpretation.
Keywords
biodiversity, disturbance, geographic bias, meta-analysis, species richness, temporal change, time series, PLANT-SPECIES DIVERSITY, METAANALYSIS, DISTURBANCE, FORESTS

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MLA
Vellend, Mark, Maria Dornelas, Lander Baeten, et al. “Estimates of Local Biodiversity Change over Time Stand up to Scrutiny.” ECOLOGY 98.2 (2017): 583–590. Print.
APA
Vellend, M., Dornelas, M., Baeten, L., Beauséjour, R., Brown, C. D., De Frenne, P., Elmendorf, S. C., et al. (2017). Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny. ECOLOGY, 98(2), 583–590.
Chicago author-date
Vellend, Mark, Maria Dornelas, Lander Baeten, Robin Beauséjour, Carissa D Brown, Pieter De Frenne, Sarah C Elmendorf, et al. 2017. “Estimates of Local Biodiversity Change over Time Stand up to Scrutiny.” Ecology 98 (2): 583–590.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vellend, Mark, Maria Dornelas, Lander Baeten, Robin Beauséjour, Carissa D Brown, Pieter De Frenne, Sarah C Elmendorf, Nicholas J Gotelli, Faye Moyes, Isla H Myers-Smith, Anne E Magurran, Brian J McGill, Hideyasu Shimadzu, and Caya Sievers. 2017. “Estimates of Local Biodiversity Change over Time Stand up to Scrutiny.” Ecology 98 (2): 583–590.
Vancouver
1.
Vellend M, Dornelas M, Baeten L, Beauséjour R, Brown CD, De Frenne P, et al. Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny. ECOLOGY. 2017;98(2):583–90.
IEEE
[1]
M. Vellend et al., “Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny,” ECOLOGY, vol. 98, no. 2, pp. 583–590, 2017.
@article{8197150,
  abstract     = {We present new data and analyses revealing fundamental flaws in a critique of two recent meta-analyses of local-scale temporal biodiversity change. First, the conclusion that short-term time series lead to biased estimates of long-term change was based on two errors in the simulations used to support it. Second, the conclusion of negative relationships between temporal biodiversity change and study duration was entirely dependent on unrealistic model assumptions, the use of a subset of data, and inclusion of one outlier data point in one study. Third, the finding of a decline in local biodiversity, after eliminating post-disturbance studies, is not robust to alternative analyses on the original data set, and is absent in a larger, updated data set. Finally, the undebatable point, noted in both original papers, that studies in the ecological literature are geographically biased, was used to cast doubt on the conclusion that, outside of areas converted to croplands or asphalt, the distribution of biodiversity trends is centered approximately on zero. Future studies may modify conclusions, but at present, alternative conclusions based on the geographic-bias argument rely on speculation. In sum, the critique raises points of uncertainty typical of all ecological studies, but does not provide an evidence-based alternative interpretation.},
  author       = {Vellend, Mark and Dornelas, Maria and Baeten, Lander and Beauséjour, Robin and Brown, Carissa D and De Frenne, Pieter and Elmendorf, Sarah C and Gotelli, Nicholas J and Moyes, Faye and Myers-Smith, Isla H and Magurran, Anne E and McGill, Brian J and Shimadzu, Hideyasu and Sievers, Caya},
  issn         = {0012-9658},
  journal      = {ECOLOGY},
  keywords     = {biodiversity,disturbance,geographic bias,meta-analysis,species richness,temporal change,time series,PLANT-SPECIES DIVERSITY,METAANALYSIS,DISTURBANCE,FORESTS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {583--590},
  title        = {Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1660},
  volume       = {98},
  year         = {2017},
}

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