Connolly, S., Keith, S., Colwell, R. K., & Rahbek, C. (2017). What Makes Models Mechanistic or Process-Based ?
Connolly, S., S. Keith, R. K. Colwell, and C. Rahbek. “What Makes Models Mechanistic or Process-Based ?” (2017).
Connolly, S., et al. What Makes Models Mechanistic or Process-Based ? 2017.
Macroecology has traditionally relied on descriptive characterization of largescale ecological patterns to offer narrative explanations for the origin and maintenance of those patterns. Only recently have macroecologists begun to employ models termed ‘process-based’ and ‘mechanistic’, in contrast to other areas of ecology, where such models have a longer history. Here, we define and differentiate between process-based and mechanistic features of models, and we identify and discuss important advantages of working with models possessing such features. We describe some of the risks associated with process-based and mechanistic model-centered research programs, and we propose ways to mitigate these risks. Giving process-based and mechanistic models a more central role in research programs can reinvigorate macroecology by strengthening the link between theory and data.