, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 176-177
Date: 26 Apr 2005

Large-scale questions and small-scale data: empirical and theoretical methods for scaling up in ecology

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Most experimental work is done at small spatial scales due to scientific, logistical, and financial constraints. Unfortunately, ecologists (and society) require answers to problems about dynamics that arise at larger scales than often can be studied experimentally. Thus, it is imperative to develop empirical and theoretical methods for scaling up the results of small-scale studies to predictions at larger scales. These methods should also identify the limits to scaling up: i.e., clarify when results from small-scale experiments cannot be extrapolated to larger scales. In this special topic, we identify three important hurdles associated with scaling up in population biology and methods of addressing these problems: (1) increased spatial heterogeneity with increasing spatial scale, (2) changes to species pools and species identities with changes in spatial scale, and (3) behaviors and trait-mediated indirect effects that emerge at larger scales, but are absent in small, relatively homog ...

Communicated by Craig W. Osenberg