My review of the Encyclopedia of Theoretical Ecology was just published in the Quarterly Review of Biology. It is a short review so I only give a very brief synopsis of this book, which is pretty remarkable in its scope but also pretty inconsistent in its delivery. I am excited to have this on my shelf, but I also can see where this edition will best serve theoretical ecology if it serves as a starting place for a more pedagogically-sound second edition.
I generally am not one to whine about editors — and I am thankful to the editors of QRB for giving me the opportunity to do these reviews — but my review was subjected to a pretty wacky editing job (there is no process of proof approval for these short reviews, so you have to live with the editing that QRB decides to do). My original opening line was:
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a volume you could pull off the shelf every time you bumped into an unfamiliar area of theoretical ecology?
This was edited to read:
Would it not be great if there was a volume you could pull off the shelf every time you bumped into an unfamiliar area of theoretical ecology?
Ugh. What a difference one conjunction makes! The edited version makes me sound like quite the proper gent, huh? I guess it could have been worse, if it had been edited to say “Would not it be great…”. This seems like a perfect example of the fact that following a grammatical or editing rule (in this case: do not use conjunctions in formal writing) in an absolute manner can lead to absolutely painful sentences.A Major Post, Ecological Modeling, My publications