Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist • 49(1): June 2017


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society. Used by permission.


Greetings GPNSS members! I hope summer finds you well and enjoying the Great Plains in some way, whether that be starting a new field season, a long-overdue break from the office, or planning your next family vacation. For me, transitioning away from the demands of the Spring 2017 semester to data analyses and preparation of my own manuscripts are particularly exciting (well, as exciting as “office life” can be!). Over the past month, I have initiated a number of grandiose summer objectives, most of which include analysis or in some instances, re-analysis of data to address concerns raised during peer-review. Though the past month has been arduous and much time spend ascending the Program R learning curve, it has provided me with the subject of this editorial: the pitfalls of data analysis.

I have been Editor-in-Chief for nearly 9 years now, over which time I have processed hundreds of manuscripts and considered hundreds of additional reviews. Over the past decade, I have noticed an increasing emphasis on data analyses at the expense of a greater understanding of the biological system under study. I raise this issue not to de-emphasize the statistical advances within the various disciplines of natural resource fact, quite the contrary! I appreciate and greatly admire the role we play in developing novel and rigorous analytical approaches. Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder whether our role as resource managers has somehow been compromised. While I will likely never know if this is the case, it remains a question that continues to fester in my mind.