Journal article

Allocating monitoring effort in the face of unknown unknowns

Brendan A Wintle, Michael C Runge, Sarah A Bekessy

ECOLOGY LETTERS | WILEY | Published : 2010


There is a growing view that to make efficient use of resources, ecological monitoring should be hypothesis-driven and targeted to address specific management questions. 'Targeted' monitoring has been contrasted with other approaches in which a range of quantities are monitored in case they exhibit an alarming trend or provide ad hoc ecological insights. The second form of monitoring, described as surveillance, has been criticized because it does not usually aim to discern between competing hypotheses, and its benefits are harder to identify a priori. The alternative view is that the existence of surveillance data may enable rapid corroboration of emerging hypotheses or help to detect import..

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Awarded by ARC

Funding Acknowledgements

This work arose in conversation with participants of the Applied Environmental Decision Analysis (AEDA) working group on optimal monitoring. We make particular acknowledgement of the contributions of Yohay Carmel, Yakov Ben-Haim, Clare Hawkins, Adrian Manning, Mark Antos, Mark Burgman and Hugh Possingham. We are grateful to Jim Nichols and Georgia Garrard for comments on an earlier draft. Reviews by Nigel Yoccoz, Jonathan Rhodes and two anonymous referees substantially improved the manuscript. BW and SB were supported by ARC grants DP0774288 and LP0882780, and the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts via AEDA. MR was supported by AEDA, the Australian Centre for Excellence in Risk Analysis and the US Geological Survey.