Accessibility navigation


Genotypic variability enhances the reproducibility of an ecological study

Milcu, A., Puga-Freitas, R., Ellison, A., Blouin, M., Scheu, S., Freschet, G. T., Rose, L., Barot, S., Cesarz, S., Eisenhauer, N., Girin, T., Assandri, D., Bonkowski, M., Buchmann, N., Butenschoen, O., Devidal, S., Gleoxner, G., Gessler, A., Gigon, A., Greiner, A. , Grignani, C., Hansart, A., Kayler, Z., Lange, M., Lata, J.-C., Le Galliard, J.-F., Lukac, M., Mannerheim, N., Muller, M. E. H., Pando, A., Rotter, P., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Seyhun, R., Urban-Maed, K., Weigelt, A., Zavattaro, L. and Roy, J. (2018) Genotypic variability enhances the reproducibility of an ecological study. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2 (2). pp. 279-287. ISSN 2397-334X

[img]
Preview
Text - Accepted Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

1MB

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0434-x

Abstract/Summary

Many scientific disciplines are currently experiencing a “reproducibility crisis” because numerous scientific findings cannot be repeated consistently. A novel but controversial hypothesis postulates that stringent levels of environmental and biotic standardization in experimental studies reduces reproducibility by amplifying impacts of lab-specific environmental factors not accounted for in study designs. A corollary to this hypothesis is that a deliberate introduction of controlled systematic variability (CSV) in experimental designs may lead to increased reproducibility. We tested this hypothesis using a multi-laboratory microcosm study in which the same ecological experiment was repeated in 14 laboratories across Europe. Each laboratory introduced environmental and genotypic CSV within and among replicated microcosms established in either growth chambers (with stringent control of environmental conditions) or glasshouses (with more variable environmental conditions). The introduction of genotypic CSV led to lower among-laboratory variability in growth chambers, indicating increased reproducibility, but had no significant effect in glasshouses where reproducibility was generally lower. Environmental CSV had little effect on reproducibility. Although there are multiple causes for the “reproducibility crisis”, deliberately including genetic variation may be a simple solution for increasing the reproducibility of ecological studies performed in controlled environments.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:74258
Publisher:Nature

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation