How long do population level field experiments need to be? Utilising data from the 40-year-old LTER network

TitleHow long do population level field experiments need to be? Utilising data from the 40-year-old LTER network
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsCusser, S, Helms, J, Bahlai, CA, Haddad, NM
JournalEcology Letters
Volume24
Issue5
Pagination1103 - 1111
Date Published2021///
ISBN Number1461-0248
KeywordsData mining, isothermality, Long-term, LTER-HBR, moving window, Population dynamics, time series, trajectory
Abstract

We utilise the wealth of data accessible through the 40-year-old Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network to ask if aspects of the study environment or taxa alter the duration of research necessary to detect consistent results. To do this, we use a moving-window algorithm. We limit our analysis to long-term (> 10 year) press experiments recording organismal abundance. We find that studies conducted in dynamic abiotic environments need longer periods of study to reach consistent results, as compared to those conducted in more moderated environments. Studies of plants were more often characterised by spurious results than those on animals. Nearly half of the studies we investigated required 10 years or longer to become consistent, where all significant trends agreed in direction, and four studies (of 100) required longer than 20 years. Here, we champion the importance of long-term data and bolster the value of multi-decadal experiments in understanding, explaining and predicting long-term trends.

URLhttps://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ele.13710
DOI10.1111/ele.13710
StartPage

1103

EndPage

1111