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Multi-decadal studies, nondegenerate random variables, and a half-century of studying acorn woodpeckers
  • Walt Koenig,
  • Eric Walters
Walt Koenig
University of California Berkeley

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Eric Walters
Old Dominion University
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Long-term studies are subject to stochastic forces as well as deterministic, ecological differences. We illustrate this by means of Polya’s urn scheme and two examples based on our long-term study of the behavioral ecology of the acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus). In both cases, the years during which the study was conducted had a large, apparently stochastic influence on population dynamics. Despite such variability, long-term studies offer several notable benefits, including the opportunity to gain a more nuanced understanding of a particular system and the ability to incorporate technological and theoretical advances. Ultimately, it is with long-term data that we can hope to disentangle and understand the stochastic and deterministic factors that drive ecological systems.
25 Jan 2024Assigned to Editor
25 Jan 2024Submission Checks Completed
25 Jan 2024Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Mar 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending