Theory testing improves predictive power for conservation and restoration

In the field of ecology, scientists use concepts and theory to predict how nature works. But due to logistics, experimental ecologists can usually only test one theory at a time, which hampers our predictive capability and the success of conservation and restoration efforts. To address this, a new study led by MSC Assistant Professor David Kimbro and collaborators from Oregon State University and University of California – Davis, demonstrated a new research approach that simultaneously evaluated multiple theories to improve the researchers’ ability to explain why the oyster abundance in a central California estuary has fluctuated greatly over a 10 year period. Recently published in the journal OIKOS, this study provides the field of ecology with a new research framework, while also improving ongoing conservation and restoration efforts of oysters in Pacific coast estuaries.

Marine and Environmental Sciences