Friday, March 21, 2014

April 2014 All-Project Meeting: Discussing Theory as a Path to BES IV

It is something of a truism that in a Long-Term Ecological Research project that one is either preparing for a mid-term, external review, or preparing for a renewal proposal.  BES just had its mid-term review in October 2013.  That means we must now be preparing for the 2016 renewal proposal – and that is, in fact, the case.  

A Suite of Preparatory Activities

The activities we have undertaken this year – our quarterly All-Project Meetings, our book of the year, and our webinars on the structure and content of theory in BES are intended to help us prepare for the renewal proposal.  This is serious work, and everybody in BES ought to be involved in these activities.

We have had two webinars to date: 1) a discussion of chapters 1 and 2 in Scheiner and Willig’s (2011) Theory of Ecology, and 2) a discussion of a draft white paper on the theory of urban heterogeneity.  We have recorded these webinars for reference by those who were unable to attend.  Go here for Webinar 1 and here for Webinar 2  The introductory PowerPoint for Webinar 2 is here:

The April Meeting as a Step toward BES IV.

The 8 April 2014, All-Project Meeting continues this work.  In it, we will discuss the theory of urban heterogeneity, examine the existing subtheories we employ, and explore alternative theoretical content, and specific research questions, especially those aimed at integration.  The meeting will incorporate new insights from many members of BES through discussions aimed at clarifying our theoretical structure, enhancing integration, and strategizing about our long-term data collection.

There is homework for the meeting.  

Please read or review the following materials.

Theory of Urban Heterogeneity
1. Cadenasso, M.L., E.J. Rosi-Marshall, S.T.A. Pickett, et al. TBD.  A Theory of Urban Heterogeneity: A Framework to Promote Integration and Hypothesis Generation for BES IV.

Structure and Use of Ecological Theory
2.  Kolasa, J. 2011. Theory makes ecology evolve. Pages 21-49 in S. M. Scheiner and M. R. Willig, editors. The theory of ecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

3. Scheiner, S. M. and M. R. Willig. 2011. A general theory of ecology. Pages 3-18 in S. M. Scheiner and M. R. Willig, editors. The theory of ecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Metacommunity Theory
4. Leibold, M. A. 2011. The metacommunity concept and its theoretical underpinnings. Pages 163-183 in S. M. Scheiner and M. R. Willig, editors. The theory of ecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

5. Swan, C. M., S. T. A. Pickett, K. Szlavecz, P. Warren, and K. T. Willey. 2011. Biodiversity and community composition in urban ecosystems: coupled human, spatial, and metacommunity processes. Pages 179-186 in J. Niemela, editor. Handbook of Urban Ecology. Oxford University Press, New York.

The River Continuum and the Urban Watershed Continuum
6. Kaushal, S.S., K.T. Belt. 2012. The urban watershed continuum: evolving spatial and temporal dimensions. Urban Ecosystems. 15:409-435. doi:10.1007/s11252-012-0226-7.

7. Vannote, R. L., G. W. Minshall, K. W. Cummins, J. R. Sedell, and C. E. Cushing. 1980. The river continuum concept. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 37:130-137.

Locational Choice
8. Irwin, Elena G., Kathleen P. Bell, Nancy E. Bockstael, David Newburn, Mark D. Partridge, JunJie Wu. 2009. “The economics of urban-rural space”Annual Review of Resource Economics, 1: 435-459.

9. Brasington, D. 2013. “Housing choice, residential mobility, and hedonic approaches.” In Fischer, M. and P. Nijkamp (ed.), Handbook of Regional Science, Berlin: Springer Verlag, pp. 147-166


Here's the agenda for the meeting, to be held in room 206 of the Technology Research Center building on the UMBC campus (5200 Westland Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21227):

8:30 am Coffee and welcome

9-9:15 am Overview of goals for the day and brief overview of the essay (See citation no. 1, above)

9:15-10 am Discussion of homework assignments

10-10:15 am Specific charge to the breakout groups

10:30-12 pm Breakout group session 1

Noon-1:30 pm Lunch on your own/with breakout groups

1:30-2:00 pm Report back from breakout groups

2:00-3:30 pm Breakout group session 2 “Mixing it up”

3:30-4:30 pm Report back from breakout groups and final thoughts


At the meeting we will use two worksheets to extend our thinking, integrative, and data strategies within the theoretical structure begun in the "heterogeneity essay" cited above.  Copies will be handed out at the meeting, but previews are available here:

Worksheet 1.  Identifying subtheories and BES long-term data that can be used to test theory.  If datasets are not being collected that you think would be useful, identify potential new datasets.

Worksheet 2: Identifying Specific Linkages/Interactions Among Subtheories
(a number of links have been provided, but please feel free to add more!)

Join the Meeting In Person or on the Web

The planning for the BES IV proposal has begun, and your contributions to that are crucial.  Be there or be square!  If you cannot attend the 8 April 2014 meeting in person, we encourage you to join via Go-To-Meeting.  The link to start the day at 9:00 a.m. is here:  (To break the meeting recording into manageable chunks, we will generate separate links for the time periods after 10:30 a.m. EDT on that day.)