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Trends Ecol Evol. 2004 Feb;19(2):101-8.

Model selection in ecology and evolution.

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1
Conservation Biology Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, WA 98112, USA. jerry.johnson@noaa.gov

Abstract

Recently, researchers in several areas of ecology and evolution have begun to change the way in which they analyze data and make biological inferences. Rather than the traditional null hypothesis testing approach, they have adopted an approach called model selection, in which several competing hypotheses are simultaneously confronted with data. Model selection can be used to identify a single best model, thus lending support to one particular hypothesis, or it can be used to make inferences based on weighted support from a complete set of competing models. Model selection is widely accepted and well developed in certain fields, most notably in molecular systematics and mark-recapture analysis. However, it is now gaining support in several other areas, from molecular evolution to landscape ecology. Here, we outline the steps of model selection and highlight several ways that it is now being implemented. By adopting this approach, researchers in ecology and evolution will find a valuable alternative to traditional null hypothesis testing, especially when more than one hypothesis is plausible.

PMID:
16701236
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2003.10.013

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