The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Experimental venue and estimation of interaction strength: Comment

Chalcraft, D.R., Binckley, C.A. and Resetarits, W.J. (2005) Experimental venue and estimation of interaction strength: Comment Ecology, 86, pp. 1061-1067. (doi:10.1890/04-0725).

Record type: Article


While experiments are vital for understanding how ecological systems operate, different philosophies exist concerning how experiments should be conducted (e.g., Petranka 1989, Dunham and Beaupre 1998, Resetarits and Fauth 1998, Skelly and Kiesecker 2001; also see the special features in Herpetologica [1989; 45:111– 128] and Ecology [1996; 77:663–705, see Dahler and Strong 1996]). Recently, Skelly (2002) asked how experimental venue (i.e., cattle tanks set up as mesocosms in a field setting vs. screened enclosures placed into natural ponds) influences competitive interactions between two species of larval anurans (Pseudacris crucifer and Rana sylvatica) and how results from the two venues match a standard of realism. He observed that density affected competitive interactions among larval anurans in mesocosms but not in enclosures and concluded that enclosures were more realistic because the observed size of tadpoles measured in the field was more similar to the size of tadpoles predicted by the enclosure experiment than by the mesocosm experiment. Although an empirical examination of venue is valid, we believe that this study has serious flaws and claims differences between venues that erroneously devalue the use of mesocosms. Our goal is to reinterpret the results from Skelly (2002) in light of its design, point out methodological/statistical issues associated with his study, and argue that both venues can make meaningful contributions to the field of ecology if they are designed correctly with regard to the questions being asked and the specific population of interest.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: April 2005


Local EPrints ID: 56170
ISSN: 0012-9658
PURE UUID: 40c0b47f-8169-4e3b-b3a3-8e4dcb0b0517

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:31

Export record



Author: D.R. Chalcraft
Author: C.A. Binckley
Author: W.J. Resetarits

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.