Multimodel inference in ecology and evolution: challenges and solutions



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum Volume 24, Issue 7, 1627, Article first published online: 3 June 2011

Catherine E. Grueber, Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.
Tel.: +64 3 479 7986; fax: +64 3 479 7584; e-mail:


Information theoretic approaches and model averaging are increasing in popularity, but this approach can be difficult to apply to the realistic, complex models that typify many ecological and evolutionary analyses. This is especially true for those researchers without a formal background in information theory. Here, we highlight a number of practical obstacles to model averaging complex models. Although not meant to be an exhaustive review, we identify several important issues with tentative solutions where they exist (e.g. dealing with collinearity amongst predictors; how to compute model-averaged parameters) and highlight areas for future research where solutions are not clear (e.g. when to use random intercepts or slopes; which information criteria to use when random factors are involved). We also provide a worked example of a mixed model analysis of inbreeding depression in a wild population. By providing an overview of these issues, we hope that this approach will become more accessible to those investigating any process where multiple variables impact an evolutionary or ecological response.