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Looking backwards to look forwards: the role of natural history in temperate reef ecology

Looking backwards to look forwards: the role of natural history in temperate reef ecology
Looking backwards to look forwards: the role of natural history in temperate reef ecology
Temperate reefs are superb tractable systems for testing hypotheses in ecology and evolutionary biology. Accordingly there is a rich history of research stretching back over 100 years, which has made major contributions to general ecological and evolutionary theory as well as providing better understanding of how littoral systems work by linking pattern with process. A brief resumé of the history of temperate reef ecology is provided to celebrate this rich heritage. As a community, temperate reef ecologists generally do well designed experiments and test well formulated hypotheses. Increasingly large datasets are being collected, collated and subjected to complex meta-analyses and used for modelling. These datasets do not happen spontaneously – the burgeoning subject of macroecology is possible only because of the efforts of dedicated natural historians whether it be observing birds, butterflies, or barnacles. High-quality natural history and old-fashioned field craft enable surveys or experiments to be stratified (i.e. replicates are replicates and not a random bit of rock) and lead to the generation of more insightful hypotheses. Modern molecular approaches have led to the discovery of cryptic species and provided phylogeographical insights, but natural history is still required to identify species in the field. We advocate a blend of modern approaches with old school skills and a fondness for temperate reefs in all their splendour.
experiments, historical ecology
1323-1650
1-13
Hawkins, S.J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Mieszkowska, N.
4c91117c-a01f-46a6-81c7-68ef16cbd598
Firth, L.B.
0c500e80-2ca4-4df5-b921-3a98efdac672
Bohn, K.
aa4c1203-9331-47ee-b9e2-65f6adbddb70
Burrows, M.T.
89ce4c9d-01e6-4ae8-a4a2-5a0d8bb09ec2
MacLean, M.A.
61661eb4-5549-4b68-b085-6fdd352664cb
Thompson, R.C.
d632e905-6f51-49a0-9426-13c42c3d0a18
Chan, B.K.K.
13e78206-e49c-4d1a-95e5-fab096c06de0
Little, C.
a071fc11-7dac-4ec3-84e9-6692e873101b
Williams, G.A.
8bddf465-1581-48c2-8f60-e5687a1d46d0
Hawkins, S.J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Mieszkowska, N.
4c91117c-a01f-46a6-81c7-68ef16cbd598
Firth, L.B.
0c500e80-2ca4-4df5-b921-3a98efdac672
Bohn, K.
aa4c1203-9331-47ee-b9e2-65f6adbddb70
Burrows, M.T.
89ce4c9d-01e6-4ae8-a4a2-5a0d8bb09ec2
MacLean, M.A.
61661eb4-5549-4b68-b085-6fdd352664cb
Thompson, R.C.
d632e905-6f51-49a0-9426-13c42c3d0a18
Chan, B.K.K.
13e78206-e49c-4d1a-95e5-fab096c06de0
Little, C.
a071fc11-7dac-4ec3-84e9-6692e873101b
Williams, G.A.
8bddf465-1581-48c2-8f60-e5687a1d46d0

Hawkins, S.J., Mieszkowska, N., Firth, L.B., Bohn, K., Burrows, M.T., MacLean, M.A., Thompson, R.C., Chan, B.K.K., Little, C. and Williams, G.A. (2016) Looking backwards to look forwards: the role of natural history in temperate reef ecology. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67 (1), 1-13. (doi:10.1071/MF14413).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Temperate reefs are superb tractable systems for testing hypotheses in ecology and evolutionary biology. Accordingly there is a rich history of research stretching back over 100 years, which has made major contributions to general ecological and evolutionary theory as well as providing better understanding of how littoral systems work by linking pattern with process. A brief resumé of the history of temperate reef ecology is provided to celebrate this rich heritage. As a community, temperate reef ecologists generally do well designed experiments and test well formulated hypotheses. Increasingly large datasets are being collected, collated and subjected to complex meta-analyses and used for modelling. These datasets do not happen spontaneously – the burgeoning subject of macroecology is possible only because of the efforts of dedicated natural historians whether it be observing birds, butterflies, or barnacles. High-quality natural history and old-fashioned field craft enable surveys or experiments to be stratified (i.e. replicates are replicates and not a random bit of rock) and lead to the generation of more insightful hypotheses. Modern molecular approaches have led to the discovery of cryptic species and provided phylogeographical insights, but natural history is still required to identify species in the field. We advocate a blend of modern approaches with old school skills and a fondness for temperate reefs in all their splendour.

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More information

Published date: 2016
Keywords: experiments, historical ecology
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 386905
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/386905
ISSN: 1323-1650
PURE UUID: 268f4cc3-67cf-47a9-a880-15a0fb810637
ORCID for M.A. MacLean: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0821-5781

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Feb 2016 11:02
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 03:12

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Contributors

Author: S.J. Hawkins
Author: N. Mieszkowska
Author: L.B. Firth
Author: K. Bohn
Author: M.T. Burrows
Author: M.A. MacLean ORCID iD
Author: R.C. Thompson
Author: B.K.K. Chan
Author: C. Little
Author: G.A. Williams

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