Tag Archives: journal watch online

Wikipedia and Ecology

Journal Watch Online reports on a recent TREE paper Callis et al Improving Wikipedia: educational opportunity and professional responsibility (DOI:10.1016/j.tree.2009.01.003 ) in Open Source Ecology

A University of Florida professor directed those energies towards a more noble cause: surveying and improving Wikipedia entries on ecological topics. The graduate students, enrolled in a seminar on plant-animal interactions, found the entries on frugivory, herbivory, pollination, granivory and seed dispersal to be lacking in breadth, and sometimes sidetracked by irrelevant topics (they were especially piqued by a long discourse about fruitarians – humans who choose a fruit diet — in the frugivory entry).

In Trends in Ecology and Evolution, the class reports that, although occasionally frustrated by other authors determined to repeatedly delete their changes, improving the entries was a valuable educational experience not too much different than writing a term paper.

They argue that updating Wikipedia, an increasingly influential public information source, is among the civic duties of scientists and should be an activity incorporated into student coursework, professional meetings, and even the peer-review publication process

Mammals better invaders than birds

Journal Watch Online reports an interesting finding:

According to the “tens rule”, roughly ten percent of introduced species become established and ten percent of those become invasive. Only it doesn’t hold for mammals or birds, according to Jonathan Jeschke’s study, the findings of which are published in Diversity and Distributions.

The Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, researcher found that fifty percent of introduced bird species become established, of which 34 percent become invasive. Mammals are even more successful colonists, with an amazing 79 percent finding a permanent home and 63 percent of those going on to become a pain in the proverbial for conservationists. That makes mammals almost fifty times more effective invaders than the tens rule predicts. How wrong can one be?

Source: Jeschke JM (2008) Across islands and continents, mammals are more successful invaders than birds. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2008.00488.x

I wonder what explains this difference between mammals and birds.  Is it something to do with biology or what species people move around?  It would be interesting to see how the patterns vary with body mass.

Another paper by Jeschke is also interesting.  Invasion success of vertebrates in Europe and North America – which showed that there does not seem to be ecological imperialism between vertabrates, and that invasion success is higher than expect.