Vol 8, Issue 2, May 2021

The Challenges of Replicating Research on Endangered Species


Shaw, R. C., Greggor, A. L., & Plotnik, J. M. (2021). The challenges of replicating research on endangered species. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 8(2), 240-246. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.


We are currently witnessing a mass extinction event. In this context, behavior and cognition research can play a vital role in our efforts to conserve biodiversity. However, research on threatened species also poses additional challenges for maintaining rigorous reproducibility standards. We identify four main barriers to carrying out replication studies: resource availability, publication bias, regulatory constraints, and social factors. We argue that all four barriers are exacerbated when the focus is on threatened species, and that they are likely to persist in the future. Considering this, we suggest that researchers develop a systematic approach to identify and prioritize studies where replication is possible and likely to significantly improve both our knowledge of a species and its conservation. Where replication is not an option, we provide several recommendations aimed at ensuring the integrity of research on threatened species.


Replication, Conservation, Endangered species, Reproducibility, Biodiversity crisis