Thursday, 19 December 2013

Lewontin (1985) on population ecology

"Theoretical population ecology is almost entirely the elaboration of a single underlying model, the logistic equation of population growth, for which there is virtually no empirical justification. At its most general, population ecological modelling does not take the logistic seriously, but supposes an unspecified multispecies interaction model which is then expanded in a Taylor's series, yielding, to the second term - the logistic model! Virtually all of observational ecology, on the other hand, is phenomenological. Do species interact? How? Can predation, competition, weather be shown to be causally efficacious or not in the determination of numbers of coexistence?" Lewontin RC (1985, 3). Population genetics. In: Greenwood PJ, Harvey PH, Slatkin M (eds). Evolution. Essays in honour of John Maynards Smith. pp. 3-18. Cambridge University Press.