Revisiting old locations and records: Experimental and Musial eye-views
In a long-term biodiversity research the relevant sampling methods for collecting ‘location’ and ‘time’ information will inevitably change over time, hence one can only replicate one’s survey “the best” one can. Yet if different research traditions – experimental, observational and Musial collections – emphasize different concepts of ‘location’ and ‘time’ that denote different ideals for ”the best” practice – exogenous and interactionist – then using different ideals on the same special scale is expected to led to empirical and heuristic gaps. Historically and philosophically comparing three long-term biodiversity re-surveys – conducted at Harvard-LTER, the MVZ at Berkeley and Israel-LTER – revealed a variety of scale-dependent gaps and resolutions.
The case study comparison showed that while interactionist and exogenous perspectives on space do not seem incommensurable when used for building theoretical models or writing grant proposals, they nonetheless lead to mutually exclusive field measurements and recording procedures when a resurvey of species location was actually taking place. I suggest that noticing the histories of the fieldwork and its records, explicating the difference in ideal practices, and alternating between them across scales seem more useful then a single ideal for all scales.