Typically, everyone chases experimental treatments – i.e. direct interventions – as the fundamental means to advance science. We do something to one set of subjects whether plants, animals, or people, and we monitor the other set designated as controls. The paper ‘Ambient changes exceed treatment effects on plant species abundance in global change experiments‘ very nicely shows that in many if not all natural systems, the ‘controls’ change too. We cannot ignore the fact that natural ecosystems are changing just as rapidly and just as much due to global change and climate as the treatments we might test.
Solution – do the work and check!