Stephen Sarre, based at the University of Canberra in Australia, has made a career out of collecting and analyzing poop.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Part of his work is designed to answer a multi-million dollar question: Is Tasmania home to foxes, a pest that carries rabies and other diseases and can ravage local wildlife? According to the Australian news outlet ABC, the Tasmanian and Australian governments have spent $50 million (AUD) on hunting foxes on the island since 2001 — even though many have debated whether they are even there.
In 2012, after analyzing thousands of fecal samples, Sarre published a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology which boldly claimed that “Foxes are now widespread in Tasmania.” But many outside researchers didn’t buy it, and quickly voiced their criticisms of the paper, namely that there may be problems with false positives and the methodology used to analyze the samples. Recently, the journal issued an expression of concern for the paper, citing an ongoing investigation into the allegations.
Here’s the expression of concern (paywalled, tsk tsk):
Continue reading Are there foxes in Tasmania? Follow the poop
An ecology journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a recently published study, citing an institutional investigation about the data and conclusions.
According to the notice — issued by the Journal of Applied Ecology — the author’s institution in South Africa has received a report from an independent examiner. The editors are reviewing the paper — about reducing the impact of lethal carnivores such as black-backed jackals — “in light of this information.”
An official from the journal told us the investigation has to do with “relevant background information” that was not included in the study, published online in December.
Here’s the EOC, published earlier this month: Continue reading Ecology journal flags carnivore paper under investigation
Jesús Lemus — the veterinary researcher whose work colleagues have had trouble verifying, including being unable to confirm the identity of one of his co-authors — has notched his ninth retraction.
It’s a clear and comprehensive notice, from the Journal of Applied Ecology, despite the bizarre nature of the case: Continue reading “Ephemeral nature” of samples — and co-author — leads to ninth Jesús Lemus retraction