Aspen trees near the Santa Fe Institute

With over 50 million peer-reviewed articles in existence, where's a scientist to begin? 

Ecologists may want to start with the short list "100 articles every ecologist should read," recently compiled by the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The list's creators set out to propose "a list of seminal papers deemed to be of major importance in ecology, thus providing a general ‘must-read’ list for any new ecologist, regardless of particular topic or expertise."

Of the 544 papers submitted for evaluation by ecology experts, 15 of the top 100 selections were authored or co-authored by SFI faculty.

Here is a lineup of the articles by SFI scientists:

11. May, R. M. Biological populations with non-overlapping generations: stable points, stable cycles, and chaos. Science 186, 645–647 (1974).

15. Levin, S. A. The problem of pattern and scale in ecology: the Robert H. MacArthur Award lecture. Ecology 73, 1943–1967 (1992).

26. Levin, S. A. & Paine, R. T. Disturbance, patch formation, and community structure. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 71, 2744–2747 (1974).

32. May R. M. Will a large complex system be stable? Nature 238, 413–414 (1972).

34. Brown, J. H., Gillooly, J. F., Allen, A. P., Savage, V. M. & West, G. B. Toward a metabolic theory of ecology. Ecology 85, 1771–1789 (2004).

39. Brown, J. H. On the relationship between abundance and distribution of species. Am. Nat. 124, 255–279 (1984).

42. Anderson, R. M. & May, R. M. Population biology of infectious diseases: part I. Nature 280, 361–367 (1979).

49. May, R. M. Simple mathematical models with very complicated dynamics. Nature 261, 459–467 (1976).

54. May, R. M. Thresholds and breakpoints in ecosystems with a multiplicity of stable states. Nature 260, 471–477 (1977).

63. May, R. M. Qualitative stability in model ecosystems. Ecology 54, 638–641 (1973).

76. May, R. M. & MacArthur, R. H. Niche overlap as a function of environmental variability. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 69, 1109–1113 (1972).

78. Axelrod, R. & Hamilton, W. D. The evolution of cooperation. Science 211, 1390–1396 (1981).

88. Anderson, R. M & May, R. M. Regulation and stability of host–parasite population interactions. J. Anim. Ecol. 47, 219–247 (1978).

95. Anderson, R. M & May, R. M. The population dynamics of microparasites and their invertebrate hosts. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B291, 451–524 (1981).

98. May, R. M. & Anderson, R. M. Population biology of infectious diseases: part II. Nature 280, 455–461 (1979).


Read the full list in Nature Ecology and Evolution (November 13, 2017)