Two plausible alternatives existed: we could either sample the entire pool of ecological research, or sample only leading journals. Surprisingly, few attempts have been made to systematically quantify trends in ecological research. The proportion of single-species studies has slightly decreased in the past three decades, but still consists of more than 60% of the studies. Supplement Stuttgart Tijdschr Diergeneeskd Tijdschrift Voor Diergeneeskunde Amsterdam Tijdschr Gerontol Geriatr Tijdschrift Voor Gerontologie En Geriatrie Deventer Tijdschr Nederl Ind Natuurkundig? It is based on the idea that 'all citations are not created equal'. Our survey reveals that these claims perhaps overstate the case. Shurin J, Gergel S, Kaufman D, Post D, Seabloom E, et al. We found that, in contrast to its common image, ecology is still mostly a study of single species 70% of the studies ; while ecosystem and community studies together comprise only a quarter of ecological research.
Most of the increase in community studies occurred in the 2000s, probably reflecting the renewed interest in this field, after the neutral theory challenged the prevalence of the niche concept. Each article was characterized according to its type, ecological domain, and applicability, and major topics. We also expected an increase in the proportion of meta-analysis studies, for two major reasons: 1 a growing awareness of the incapacity of single studies of specific systems, conducted under narrow ranges of conditions, to provide insights on broader ecological issues , and 2 the increased access to information and data in the age of the Internet. Two notable examples are evolution, and food-web, each of which appeared as a research topic in 2—4% of the articles. This unit will investigate what's hot in the science of ecology and how we got there by following the history of ecological ideas and the people behind them through to the big questions that remain unanswered in ecology today. In other words, how often does ecology relate to actual, specific environmental problems, in an attempt to provide solutions or at least new insights on how to make progress towards solutions? There were significant changes in the frequency of several topics over time.
Typically, these studies have used an automated count of words in titles and abstracts to assess trends in ecology , , ,. Observations and experiments are known to be the two dominant tools of ecological research. The frequency of two topics climate change and biodiversity, increased significantly with time in both surveys ,. Discussion Few systematic surveys of ecological literature have been conducted to date, and most have been restricted to a single theme or a narrow branch of ecological science , , ,. Annual Review of Anthropology 28: 479—507.
This is a standard format in scientific journals, as these two editorial processes promote accurate scientific examination of research trends. The frequency of more than half of the topics and domains was very similar in both surveys, but nearly a third of the topics differed significantly between the surveys. The chart shows the ratio of a journal's documents signed by researchers from more than one country; that is including more than one country address. Our approach could not, and was not meant to detect changes in particular methods and technologies applied within each research domain or topic. A contrasting view, put forward by O'Connor , claimed that ecology lags after other life sciences, and makes very little progress. We characterize various aspects of ecological research, using an extensive survey of ecological literature. Funding: This study was funded by the Israel Science Foundation grant number 486-2010.
Overall, there does not seem to be a drastic transformation in the relative importance of domains and topics in the field of ecology, but the apparent change in topics and research types signifies that ecological science is not entirely stagnant. However, it is safe to assume that a major advance in ecology would be accompanied by a major change in the frequency of domains, topics, and types of research; yet, as shown here, these have changed only moderately in the course of three decades. In many cases, reading the abstract provided sufficient information for classifying the article. Citation: Carmel Y, Kent R, Bar-Massada A, Blank L, Liberzon J, Nezer O, et al. However, the growing proportion of problem-solving studies from 9% in the 1980s to 20% in the 2000 s may represent a major transition in ecological science in the long run. However, the use of these new technologies and processing power does not imply enhanced knowledge or understanding.
Annual percentage change in the frequency of domains and topics in ecological research 1980—2010. Nunes Amaral, Northwestern University, United States of America Received: September 16, 2012; Accepted: February 19, 2013; Published: April 24, 2013 Copyright: © 2013 Carmel et al. Noy-Meir I 1975 Stability of grazing systems: an application of predator-prey graphs. Now, more than ever before, is it necessary for life scientists to be aware of research from a wide range of disciplines, especially in the face of the gathering momentum of global environmental change and destruction. Prominent ecologists have claimed that ecology has undergone transitions , and even paradigm shifts in recent decades, and is now a mature and competent science. Q1 green comprises the quarter of the journals with the highest values, Q2 yellow the second highest values, Q3 orange the third highest values and Q4 red the lowest values.
In order to account for multiple comparisons, we applied the Bonferroni correction. It serves as an invaluable source of information for researchers, lecturers, teachers, field workers and students. They are currently part of Elsevier s Cell Press group of journals. New York: Oxford University Press. More recently, ecologists have become increasingly concerned about the implications of their work to society's problems , , while environmental agencies have expressed an increased demand for ecological solutions to environmental problems.
Here, we ask if the topics and methodologies of ecological research as reflected in the literature of the last 30 years provide evidence to support notions of dramatic shifts, or of gradual change. Frequency of research types and problem-solving studies, in ecological research 1980—2010. Our goal here was to determine the degree to which ecology is oriented towards problem-solving. Not a single journal satisfied all three criteria. Classification consistency Classifiers' results were in good agreement with the consensus of the test articles, with an overall average agreement rate of 90%. The concept of equilibrium was replaced by other concepts, for example, the concept of non-equilibrium change, in which the system is often described as rotating between alternative states.