Swapping space for time and unfair tests of ecological models

Andrew J. Tyre, Brigitte Tenhumberg, Michael A. Mccarthy, Hugh P. Possingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Testing ecological models for management is an increasingly important part of the maturation of ecology as an applied science. Consequently, we need to work at applying fair tests of models with adequate data. We demonstrate that a recent test of a discrete time, stochastic model was biased towards falsifying the predictions. If the model was a perfect description of reality, the test falsified the predictions 84% of the time. We introduce an alternative testing procedure for stochastic models, and show that it falsifies the predictions only 5% of the time when the model is a perfect description of reality. The example is used as a point of departure to discuss some of the philosophical aspects of model testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-331
Number of pages5
JournalAustral Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive management
  • Power test
  • Sorghum brachypodum
  • Standard deviate
  • Stochastic population model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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