Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2021

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Source Publication

Integrative and Comparative Biology

Source ISSN

0003-1569

Abstract

Individual variation in morphology, physiology, and behavior has been a topic of great interest in the biological sciences. While scientists realize the importance of understanding diversity in individual phenotypes, historically the “minority” results (I.e., outlier observations or rare events) of any given experiment have been dismissed from further analysis. We need to reframe how we view “outliers” to improve our understanding of biology. These rare events are often treated as problematic or spurious, when they can be real rare events or individuals driving evolution in a population. It is our perspective that to understand what outliers can tell us in our data, we need to: (1) Change how we think about our data philosophically, (2) Fund novel collaborations using science “weavers” in our national funding agencies, and (3) Bridge long-term field and lab studies to reveal these outliers in action. By doing so, we will improve our understanding of variation and evolution. We propose that this shift in culture towards more integrative science will incorporate diverse teams, citizen scientists and local naturalists, and change how we teach future students.

Comments

Accepted version. Integrative and Comparative Biology, Vol. 61, No. 6 (December 2021): 2191-2198. DOI. © 2021 Oxford University Press. Used with permission.

Available for download on Thursday, December 01, 2022

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