How to be manipulative

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

15 Scopus citations


The article discusses how intelligent tinkering is key to understanding ecology and rehabilitating ecosystems. The environment that an organism experiences is many things: individuals of the same species, individuals of other species, their spatial arrangements and movements, the temperature, the amounts of light and water, the concentrations of different chemicals. As in much of biology the most satisfying truths in ecology derive from manipulative experimentation. Tinker with nature, and quantify how it responds. A key prediction, that elevational range increases with latitude, has been corroborated by compiling 80 years of published data on the distributions of 16,500 species spanning the geographic distance from Argentina to Alberta. Another challenge is the lack of model systems of the sort that have enabled explosive progress in genetics and cell biology. Selective removal of species from plots is a common technique in field manipulations, but it is not the only one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages8
Specialist publicationAmerican Scientist
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'How to be manipulative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this