Editor’s Letter—Vol. 29, No. 2

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

Ecology is the study of organisms and their interaction with their environment. In this special issue of CHANCE, we explore the application of statistics in this fascinating science with a number of interesting articles from leaders in the field. Special thanks to Michael Lavine for his help in organizing this issue.

In our first article, Michael Lavine, J. Roger Brothers, Kenneth Lohmann, and Isaac Lavine use statistical graphics to learn how sea turtles migrate in “Sea Turtles: A Case of Animal Magnetism.”

Hannah Buckley, Bradley Case, Ronny Vallejos, J. Julio Camarero, Emilia Gutierrez, Eryuan Liang, Yafeng Wang, and Aaron Ellison illustrate the use of spatial pattern analyses and codispersion analyses in helping to understand relationships between organisms, environments, and their interactions in “Detecting Ecological Patterns Along Environmental Gradients: Alpine Treeline Ecotones.”

Kiona Ogle and Jarrett Barber inform us that plants and ecosystems have memory. In “Plant and Ecosystem Memory,” they describe how stochastic antecedent modeling (SAM) can be used to quantify memory and estimate an antecedent effect, which subsequently can be used for improved forecasting.

Christopher Wikle, William Leeds, and Mevin Hooten discuss surrogate models for data assimilations methods for filling in data gaps in “Models for Ecological Models: Ocean Primary Productivity.”

Sydne Record and Noah Charney evaluate how climate change is affecting ranges using species distribution models (SDMs) in “Modeling Species Ranges.” Nicholas Gotelli discusses how to evaluate how communities of plants and animals are organized in nature in “Checkerboards and Missing Species Combinations: Are Ecological Communities Assembled by Chance?

In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil well created an ecological disaster, sending about 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Tracking the oil became particularly important. In “Deepwater Horizon: Locating Submerged Oil in Ocean Water Using the k-means Clustering Technique,” Tanujit Dey, Walter Hickey, Bimal Parakkal, and Wojbor Woyczynski discuss a novel low-cost method for tracking submerged oil using the k-means clustering technique.

In our columns, Colin Rundel and Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel discuss a unique homework assignment focused on spatial data in Taking a Chance in the Classroom. They combine modern data analysis with statistical fundamentals in “La Quinta is Spanish for ‘Next to Denny’s.'” In the Odds of Justice, Mary Gray discusses statistics in school and in court.

In the Big Picture, Nicole Lazar evaluates how big Big Data actually are in “Imaging Genetics: A Tale of Two Modalities.” In Visual Revelations, Linda Steinberg and Howard Wainer comment on value-added models (VAMs) and baseball.

Lastly, I would like to inform readers of CHANCE regarding the online availability of videos associated with the special issue of CHANCE, “Nurturing Statistical Thinking before College.” Authors in the special issue gave online presentations about their articles. These presentations were recorded and are available on YouTube.

Scott Evans

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