How to attract young scientists to quantitative ecology?

This paper is the reason why we, as past and present members of a research team, started this blog. We started discussing the challenging Possingham’s (2012) proclamation that

conservation needs more analysts, not more field data

which, he says,

invariably elicits a hostile reception among field ecologists.

We took the opposite view and claimed: let’s collect data, and try to balance quantitative ecology with fieldwork! This was a very exciting experience along which we learnt a lot from each other by sharing confronting, structuring and synthesizing ideas. We would like to pursue the venture through this blog. Surprisingly to us, this short contribution got some coverage:

F1000 review – Good for Teaching, Interesting Hypothesis by J. Claudet and E. Darling: This commentary puts forward a vision that balances quantitative analyses of existing datasets with fieldwork in order to train young scientists in data-driven conservation. As a response to an equally invigorating commentary by Hugh Possingham, the authors acknowledge the need to train young scientists as ‘quantitative analysts’ that can monitor, model and evaluate conservation actions. At the same time, the authors emphasize that fieldwork experience is essential to remain biologically relevant – getting your feet wet and being out in the field helps understand both your study system and the value of collected data. This paper provides a compelling argument that desk-based analyses and field science are important for both new (and established) scientists in quantitative ecology and conservation.

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