Theory & Synthesis

Is nature predictable? Looking broadly across ecological subdisciplines, are there common patterns to what limits the predictability of different types of problems? Answering many of the deep, overarching questions in ecology requires us to develop new theory about predictability itself. It also requires synthesis across a small but rapidly growing catalog of ecological forecasts. Finally, forecasting itself is inherently synthetic, as making specific, quantitative predictions requires the fusion of our prior data and our current theories (as embedded in the models we use).  Prediction provides a means of unification by assessing our ability to extrapolate not just within individual problems but across them; it implies we understand something general about how ecological system works. These are the big-picture problems the  EFI Theory & Synthesis working group aims to tackle.

Theory Resources

Peter Adler’s overview of the Theory Group’s activities presented at the August 2020 ESA Symposia 25: The Ecological Forecasting Initiative: Lessons Learned from a Grassroots Network to Advance Ecology

Theory Working Group Schedule of Calls:
The Theory Group will be meeting on September 15, October 14, November 18, and December 16 at 12pm US Eastern. We are always open to people joining the calls, contact us at

Notes from Working Group Calls
Co-chairs: Abby Lewis (Virginia Tech), Amanda Gallinat (Utah State University)

  1. September 16, 2020
  2. August 18, 2020
  3. July 21, 2020
  4. June 23, 2020
  5. May 26, 2020
  6. April 28, 2020
  7. April 2, 2020
  8. March 10, 2020
  9. February 20, 2020
  10. December 3, 2019
  11. November 12, 2019
  12. October 29, 2019
  13. October 1, 2019
  14. August 20, 2019
  15. July 14, 2019