Useful statistical papers in Ecology

Here’s my list of useful statistics papers for the contemporary ecologist. Why you ask? Keeping up with statistics is challenging because the literature is a bit diffuse; there is no one source for these papers (though Ecology and Methods in Ecology & Evolution are good places to start).

Obviously this is a huge issue, so the list is biased towards what I’ve found to be helpful or interesting. At the very least, the papers here should provide a good place to start if you’re interested in a certain topic. For now, I’m not including books, but If I’m missing a paper, leave a comment below! Likewise, send me an email if you’re having difficulty tracking a paper down.

Exploratory Data Analysis

  • Zuur et al. (2010) Methods in Ecology & Evolution – protocol for data exploration. This is first because you should graph your data first!

Generalized Linear Mixed Models (because I heart them)

  • Kain et al. (2015) PeerJ – a guide for GLMMs and power analysis!
  • Johnson et al. (2014) Methods in Ecology & Evolution – moar GLMM power analysis, who doesn’t need more powah?
  • Warton and Hui (2011) Ecology – this paper basically rendered the arcsine transformation extinct, plus it has a catchy title!
  • O’Hara and Kotze (2010) Methods in Ecology & Evolution – this one extirpated the log transform on count data, so sad. Probably the most absolutist title I’ve ever seen.
  • Bolker et al. (2008) Trends in Ecology & Evolution – a foundational paper for GLMMs


Community Analyses and Multivariate Statistics



  • Graham (2003) Ecology – Graham calls it multicollinearity, I think more often called collinearity these days

The p-value debate

Statistical Philosophy

  • Murtaugh (2007) Ecology – to be complex or simple, that is the question?

Non-linear models

Multiple Comparisons

  • Moran (2003) Oikos – Bonferonni, yay or nay? Spoiler alert! It’s nay.