Null Hypotheses in Ecology: Towards the Dissolution of a Controversy

Abstract
Ever since ecology's inception, the concept of competition has generated discussion. Recent discussions have focused on the role of interspecific competition in shaping the structure of ecological communities. More in particular, ecologists are split up over the validity of a method that is currently in vogue to discredit explanations of community structure in terms of competition theory. An analysis of this controversy is presented which attempts to show that the discussions so far have focused on the wrong issues. Not the method's ability to generate alternative explanations should be questioned, but its ability to generate superior explanations. The impact of Popperian philosophy of science on the dispute is briefly discussed.
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