IGN 12-4
The case for general theory development as a guiding force in ecology

Thursday, August 14, 2014
313, Sacramento Convention Center
Annette M. Ostling, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Some say all general theory has been worked out in ecology. Theoretical ecologists need only work out the detailed consequences of existing theory in specific systems, to more thoroughly test it.  Others say even if there are still general principles to uncover, theory in ecology should first and foremost be developed for specific systems, with general principles emerging later. Let's not waste time developing and testing biologically irrelevant theory. Here I argue against these views. Ecology is wide open for the development of new, general theory that can and should play a guiding role, rather than arising as an afterthought.