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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382294

Research Project: Restoration and Conservation of Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: What's hot and what's not – Identifying publication trends in insect ecology

Author
item ANDREW, NIGEL - University Of New England
item EVANS, MALDWYN - University Of Tokyo
item Svejcar, Lauren
item PRENDEGAST, KIT - Curtin University
item MATA, LUIS - University Of Melbourne
item GIBB, HELOISE - La Trobe University
item STONE, MARISA - Griffiths University
item BARTON, PHILIP - Federation University

Submitted to: Austral Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/18/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Research disciplines in science have historically developed in silos but are increasingly becoming multidisciplinary. Here, we assessed how the insect-ecology literature published in ecological and entomological journals has developed over the last 20 years, and which topics have crossed discipline boundaries. We used structural topic modelling to assess research trends from 34 304 articles published in six ecology journals and six entomology journals between 2000 and 2020. We then identified and compared topics that emerged from the entire body of literature, or corpus, with topics that emerged from a subsection of articles that focused only on insects (insect corpus). We found that insect-related research is a major component of the broader ecological discipline, and there are topics in ecology where insect research aligns with general ecological trends. However, specific topics unique to the insect corpora – such as insect taxonomy – are fundamental to both insect and ecology research and requires further study.

Technical Abstract: Research disciplines in science have historically developed in silos but are increasingly becoming multidisciplinary. Here, we assessed how the insect-ecology literature published in ecological and entomological journals has developed over the last 20 years, and which topics have crossed discipline boundaries. We used structural topic modelling to assess research trends from 34 304 articles published in six ecology journals and six entomology journals between 2000 and 2020. We then identified and compared topics that emerged from the entire body of literature, or corpus, with topics that emerged from a subsection of articles that focused only on insects (insect corpus). We found that, within the entire corpus, topics on 'Community Ecology', 'Traits', 'Life History and Physiology', and 'Ecological Methods & Theory' became more prevalent over time (hot topics); whereas 'Population Modelling', 'Insect Development', 'Reproduction and Ontogeny', and 'Plant Growth' declined in prevalence over the 20 years we surveyed (cold topics). In the insect corpus, we found that hot topics included 'Thermal Tolerance' and 'Disease Vectors'; cold topics included 'Herbivore Phenology', 'Insect-Plant Interactions', and 'Parasitoids and Parasites'. 'Landscape Ecology' was a growth topic area for both corpora. Our findings suggest that insect-related research is a major component of the broader ecological discipline, and there are topics in ecology where insect research aligns with general ecological trends. However, specific topics unique to the insect corpora – such as insect taxonomy – are fundamental to both insect and ecology research.