Neutral Models in Biology

Neutral Models in Biology

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Description

This is a book for biologists about the use of models in testing biological theories. Scientists construct models to help understand complex patterns of biological form, structure or behaviour that cannot be observed directly. The neutral model is defined as the simplest explanation that requires the fewest assumptions. The eight chapters in this book, written by a distinguished group of scientists, describe the principles of modelling, and tell how to apply models to research in molecular biology and genetics, ecology and evolution, and paleontology.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 174 pages
  • 228.6 x 228.6 x 152.4mm | 477.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 39 figures, 1 table
  • 0195050991
  • 9780195050998

Review quote

"'Neutral' or 'null' models have convulsed several areas of evolutionary ecology in the last decade and generated debate so caustic that it has been reported in the lay press. Surprisingly, though particular areas have been examined, there has been no general review. This volume fills the void. . . .well written and nontechnical, and the book is engaging. . . .thoughtful and provocative." --American Scientist"The book does contain a great diversity of expertise and viewpoints, from population geneticist to philosopher to ecologist, paleontologist and statistician, and from adherents to the benefits of neutral models to committed sceptics. . . .an important book." --Cladistics "'Neutral' or 'null' models have convulsed several areas of evolutionary ecology in the last decade and generated debate so caustic that it has been reported in the lay press. Surprisingly, though particular areas have been examined, there has been no general review. This volume fills the void. . . .well written and nontechnical, and the book is engaging. . . .thoughtful and provocative." --American Scientist"The book does contain a great diversity of expertise and viewpoints, from population geneticist to philosopher to ecologist, paleontologist and statistician, and from adherents to the benefits of neutral models to committed sceptics. . . .an important book." --Cladistics "'Neutral' or 'null' models have convulsed several areas of evolutionary ecology in the last decade and generated debate so caustic that it has been reported in the lay press. Surprisingly, though particular areas have been examined, there has been no general review. This volume fills the void. . . .well written and nontechnical, and the book is engaging. . . .thoughtful and provocative." --American Scientist "The book does contain a great diversity of expertise and viewpoints, from population geneticist to philosopher to ecologist, paleontologist and statistician, and from adherents to the benefits of neutral models to committed sceptics. . . .an important book." --Cladistics "'Neutral' or 'null' models have convulsed several areas of evolutionary ecology in the last decade and generated debate so caustic that it has been reported in the lay press. Surprisingly, though particular areas have been examined, there has been no general review. This volume fills the void. . . .well written and nontechnical, and the book is engaging. . . .thoughtful and provocative." --American Scientist "The book does contain a great diversity of expertise and viewpoints, from population geneticist to philosopher to ecologist, paleontologist and statistician, and from adherents to the benefits of neutral models to committed sceptics. . . .an important book." --Cladistics "'Neutral' or 'null' models have convulsed several areas of evolutionary ecology in the last decade and generated debate so caustic that it has been reported in the lay press. Surprisingly, though particular areas have been examined, there has been no general review. This volume fills the void. . ..well written and nontechnical, and the book is engaging. . . .thoughtful and provocative." --American Scientist"The book does contain a great diversity of expertise and viewpoints, from population geneticist to philosopher to ecologist, paleontologist and statistician, and from adherents to the benefits of neutral models to committed sceptics. . . .an important book." --Cladisticsshow more

Table of contents

Introduction: Matthew H. Nitecki & Antoni Hoffman: Neutral models as a biological strategy; PART I: MOLECULAR AND GENETIC MODELS: James F. Crow: Neutral models in evolutionary biology - neutral models in molecular evolution; William C. Wimsatt: False models as means to truer theories; Stuart A. Kauffman: Self organization, selective adaption, and its limits - a new pattern of inference in evolution and development; PART II: ECOLOGICAL MODELS: L.B. Slobotkin: How to be objective in community studies; Paul H. Harvey: On the use of null hypotheses in biogeography; PART III: PALEONTOLOGICAL MODELS: David M. Raup: Neutral models in paleobiology; Antoni Hoffman: Neutral model of taxonomic diversification in the phanerozoic - a methodological discussion; Stephen M. Stigler: Testing hypotheses or fitting models? Another look at mass extinctions.show more