Interpreting ecological data

Bob O’Hara has an interesting post on interpreting relationships in ecological data. He notes that the strength of relationships between a response and explanatory variable will be underestimated if error in the explanatory variable is ignored.

This issue is often considered in allometric studies, but rarely anywhere else. We included uncertainty in the explanatory variable in a recent study of avian dispersal distance, but ecologists usually seem to be able to get away with ignoring it. I’ve never known a reviewer or editor to mention the issue.

Anyway, it is well worth reading Bob’s post. Despite similar titles, this topic is different from a recent post of mine.

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About Michael McCarthy

I conduct research on environmental decision making and quantitative ecology. My teaching is mainly at post-grad level at The University of Melbourne.
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