Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

This book is the result of a decade or so of work, much of which has been performed in collaboration with colleagues and students. These many collaborations have been instrumental in shaping my views and establishing the results summarized here. Fred Guichard, Bart Haegeman, Florence Hulot, Shawn Leroux, and Elisa Thébault gave useful comments on some of the chapters. Bob Holt and an anonymous reader reviewed the entire book and provided valuable...

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Preface: On Unifying Approaches in Ecology

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p. ix

The vigorous growth of ecology from its origins in the late 19th century and early 20th century has been accompanied by its gradual fission into several distinct subdisciplines. The unified view of ecology that was present in a book like Lotka’s Elements of Physical Biology (1925), which introduced many of the theoretical approaches that are still followed today, has given way to more specialized research programs. Although specialization is to some extent inevitable..

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1 Population and Ecosystem Approaches in Ecology

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pp. 1-18

Building a theory that merges population, community, and ecosystem ecology requires at the very least that the fundamental descriptions of reality provided by the various subdisciplines be compatible with each other. But meeting this basic requirement is far from being a trivial issue given the widely different conceptual foundations and formalisms used by population and community ecology on the one hand and by ecosystem ecology on the other. In this introductory chapter, I first briefly revisit the foundations and formalisms of the population and ecosystem approaches in ecology. I then...

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2 The Maintenance and Functional Consequences of Species Diversity

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pp. 19-55

The core of community ecology is concerned with the question: why are there so many species on Earth? The tremendous diversity of life despite common constraints on the physiology and ecology of organisms is one of the hallmarks of living systems. Community ecology seeks to explain the maintenance of species diversity within ecological systems very much like population genetics seeks to explain the maintenance of genetic diversity within species. A...

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3 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning

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pp. 56-78

During the last decade interest has shifted from explaining species diversity to understanding the functional consequences of biodiversity. Biodiversity is a broader concept than species diversity because it includes all aspects of the diversity of life—including molecules, genes, behaviors, functions, species, interactions, and ecosystems. Accordingly, it can be approached from multiple perspectives. Although the classical approach in taxonomy, ecology, and conservation...

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4 Food Webs, Interaction Webs, andEcosystem Functioning

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pp. 79-122

A food web describes the network of trophic interactions between species, i.e., who eats whom, in an ecosystem. Since trophic interactions are both the vehicle of energy and material transfers and one of the most significant ways in which species interact, they have always lain at the confluence of community and ecosystem ecology. But they have been approached from different perspectives in different traditions. The energetic view articulated by Lindeman (1942)...

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5 Stability and Complexity of Ecosystems

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pp. 123-163

Research into the potential consequences of changes in biodiversity on ecosystem functioning and on the delivery of ecosystem services has been prominent in fostering cross-fertilization between community ecology and ecosystem ecology during the last decade. This research has shown that biodiversity loss can have adverse effects on the average rates of ecosystem processes such as primary production and nutrient retention in temperate grassland ecosystems (chapter 3). Most...

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6 Material Cycling and the Overall Functioning of Ecosystems

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pp. 164-195

So far I have moved gradually from simpler to more complex systems, starting with single populations (chapter 1), then continuing with competitive systems that have multiple species but a single trophic level (chapters 2, 3, and 5), and finally expanding the scope to food webs and interaction webs with multiple species and multiple trophic levels (chapters 4 and 5). Now has come the time to consider the ecosystem as a whole, and the specific constraints that...

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7 Spatial Dynamics of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning

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pp. 196-224

A defi ning feature of ecology over the last few decades has been a growing appreciation of the importance of considering processes operating at spatial scales larger than that of a single locality, from the scale of the landscape to that of the region (Ricklefs and Schluter 1993; Turner et al. 2001). Spatial ecology, however, has reproduced the traditional divide within ecology between the perspectives of population and community ecology on the one hand and ecosystem ecology...

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8 Evolution of Ecosystems and Ecosystem Properties

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pp. 225-259

Ecosystem ecology and evolutionary biology are two disciplines that have not had a history of close, peaceful relationships. They have been largely separate intellectual endeavors (Holt 1995), and when they have interacted, it has been more often to clash than to blend. The modern theory of evolution sees evolution as the result of a two-step process: trait variation is fi rst generated at random by mutations or recombination of the genetic material, and natural selection then acts...

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9 Postface: Toward an Integrated, Predictive Ecology

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pp. 260-268

The human species is arguably at a turning point in its historical development. In a few millennia, humans have risen from the state of sparse populations of gatherers-hunters with minor impacts on their environment to that of a global collective force that is reshaping the face of Earth. The fate of our planet hinges to a significant extent on how humankind will handle its new status of global dominant species and adapt its behavior and society accordingly during this century. The global human population and economy are still growing nearly..

References

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pp. 269-290

Index

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pp. 291-300