White, E. R. and C. A. Bahlai. 2021. Experimenting with the past to improve environmental monitoring. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.572979

Citable PDF link: https://lter.kbs.msu.edu/pub/3927

Long-term monitoring programs are a fundamental part of both understanding ecological systems and informing management decisions. However, there are many constraints which might prevent monitoring programs from being designed to consider statistical power, site selection, or the full costs and benefits of monitoring. Key considerations can be incorporated into the optimal design of a management program with simulations and experiments. Here, we advocate for the expanded use of a third approach: non-random resampling of previously-collected data. This approach conducts experiments with available data to understand the consequences of different monitoring approaches. We first illustrate non-random resampling in determining the optimal length and frequency of monitoring programs to assess species trends. We then apply the approach to a pair of additional case studies, from fisheries and agriculture. Non-random resampling of previously-collected data is underutilized, but has the potential to improve monitoring programs.

DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2020.572979

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