NCEAS Project 10584

Meta-analysis in ecology: Lessons, challenges and future

  • Julia Koricheva
  • Jessica Gurevitch

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group5th—8th May 2006Participant List  
Working Group2nd—5th November 2006Participant List  
Working Group28th April—1st May 2007Participant List  
Working Group9th—13th February 2008Participant List  

Meta-analysis represents a set of statistical methods for quantitative research synthesis developed in medicine and social sciences in late 1970s and introduced to ecology in early 1990s. It provides a more objective and informative alternative to narrative reviews and "vote-counting" approaches traditionally used for research synthesis in ecology. Despite its great potential in addressing both basic and applied research questions, the progress in meta-analytic applications in ecology is still hindered by the limited availability of meta-analytic training for ecology students, limited palette of meta-analytic techniques and tools available in ecology compared to that available in medicine and social sciences, and the need to adjust these techniques to account for the structure of ecological data and the nature of ecological questions. The aims of our working group are to facilitate and to promote the thoughtful and critical use of meta-analysis for research synthesis in ecology, and to improve the power and rigour of ecological meta-analysis. These aims will be achieved by writing a handbook of meta-analysis for ecologists, by updating existing statistical software for ecological meta-analysis, by creating an online forum on ecological meta-analysis containing bibliography and teaching aids, by taking advantage of recent methodological developments in quantitative research synthesis in medicine and social sciences, and by adjusting standard meta-analytical procedures to address specific ecological issues and problems.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Book Koricheva, Julia; Gurevitch, Jessica; Mengersen, Kerrie. 2013. Handbook of Meta-Analysis in Ecology and Evolution. Edited by Koricheva, Julia; Gurevitch, Jessica; Mengersen, Kerrie Princeton University Press. Princeton. Pages 1-498.
Journal Article Lajeunesse, Marc J. 2009. Meta-analysis and the comparative phylogenetic method. American Naturalist. Vol: 174(3). Pages 369-381. (Online version)