I don’t usually blog about my own papers, except in some rather meta ways, but last week saw the publication of a paper I’m really, really proud of. And it has some interesting backstory, including its conception right here on Scientist Sees Squirrel.
The paper is called “Site-selection bias and apparent population declines in long-term studies”, and it’s just come out in Conservation Biology. It started, back in August of 2016, with a post called Why Most Studied Populations Should Decline. That post made a very simple point about population monitoring, long-term studies, and inferences about population decline. That point: if ecologists tend to begin long-term studies in places where their study organisms are common (and there are lots of very good reasons why they might), then we should expect long-term studies to frequently show population declines simply as a statistical artifact. That shouldn’t be controversial – it’s just a manifestation of regression to the mean – but it’s been almost entirely unaddressed in the literature.
A bunch of folks read that blog post. Some were mortally offended. Continue reading