, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1112–1114 | Cite as

Hierarchy of hypotheses or cascade of predictions? A comment on Heger et al. (2013)

  • Alejandro G. Farji-Brener
  • Sabrina Amador-Vargas

The only way to test hypotheses is by evaluating their consequences. Since a hypothesis is an explanation of how nature works, it can be tested through the formulation of outcomes expected assuming the proposed hypothesis is true, and contrasting those predictions with the obtained results. Therefore, hypothesis and predictions are intrinsically different concepts. Hypotheses are ideas; predictions are expected results. Predictions are deduced from hypotheses, but it is unlikely to deduce a hypothesis from a prediction. Regardless of these conceptual differences, ecologists often formulate predictions but erroneously state them as hypothesis (Farji-Brener 2003). We believe that this is the case in the work of Heger et al. (2013). Here, we point out the confusion between hypotheses and predictions, highlight the importance of an adequate use of these terms, and propose the hierarchy-of-expected outcomes approach as an alternative to the hierarchy-of-hypotheses approach.

In the Heger et...


Natural Enemy Invasion Success Leaf Damage Specific Prediction Enemy Release 
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  1. Farji-Brener, A.G. 2003. Uso correcto, parcial e incorrecto de los términos hipótesis y predicciones en ecología. Ecología Austral 13: 223–227.Google Scholar
  2. Heger, T., and J. Jeschke. 2014. The enemy release hypothesis as a hierarchy of hypotheses. Oikos 123: 741–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Heger, T., T. Botta-Dukát, P. Gherardi, C. Hoppe, I. Hoste, K. Jax, L. Lindström, P. Boets, et al. 2013. Conceptual frameworks and methods for advancing invasion ecology. AMBIO 42: 527–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro G. Farji-Brener
    • 1
  • Sabrina Amador-Vargas
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio EcotonoCRUB-Universidad Nacional del ComahueBarilocheArgentina
  2. 2.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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