Discussion paper on approximate Bayesian parameterization of a complex tropical forest model

Biogeosciences just published a discussion paper on a project I have been working on for quite a while now, namely on likelihood approximations for stochastic forest models (see also our review on the topic of simulation-based inference in general). From the technical side, it may be interesting that we don’t use Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC),…

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Mechanistic vs. phenomenological descriptions of nature

A few days ago, I came across a very interesting post on “Mechanistic models: what is the value of understanding?” by Amy Hurford on her Just Simple Enough: The Art of Mathematical Modelling blog. The post discusses the old, but for me still somewhat unresolved question of the relationship / definition / statistical treatment /…

Responses of Late Quaternary megafauna to climate and humans

In a proverbial “mammoth project”, Lorenzen and colleagues report in this weeks issue of Nature on the responses of six Late Quaternary megafauna herbivores (woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, horse, reindeer/caribou, bison and musk ox) to climate and humans. The authors draw on various data sources, in particular species distribution models and ancient DNA, to “reconstruct…

Phylogenetics, models and evolution

I want to highlight two interesting papers coming out last week in the field of phylogenetics and evolution. The first is a paper by Nagalingum et al. who use fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies to examine the diversification of cycads, and ancient lineage of woody plants. The cycad record dates back at least to the early Permian…