Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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pp. ix-xii

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Preface: Purpose, Perspective, and Scope

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pp. xiii-xx

Reports of above-average annual temperatures and record-warm years are by now well familiar. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA ) announced on January 12, 2011, that 2010 had equaled 2005 as the year of highest global mean temperatures on record. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxiv

The acknowledgments section of any book is invariably its shortest, yet it is the most important. Many people contributed to the successful completion of this project, but I must first thank my editor at Princeton University Press, Alison Kalett, for encouraging me to write this book. ...

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1. A Brief Overview of Recent Climate Change and Its Ecological Context

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pp. 1-23

This chapter summarizes the most prominent abiotic components of recent climate change to establish the environmental context from which the discussion in the rest of the book proceeds. As will become clear in subsequent chapters, the rapid pace and broad geographic extent of abiotic changes reviewed here cannot be viewed in isolation for, as important as they are as drivers of ecological dynamics, in many if not most cases the ecological responses resulting from them owe to an alteration of biotic interactions. ...

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2. Pleistocene Warming and Extinctions

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pp. 24-53

The previous chapter focused on the past 150 years of climate change, which I referred to as recent and rapid climate change. Foreseeing the ecological consequences of the expected climatic changes that are projected to occur over the next century is an exceedingly complex undertaking. ...

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3. Life History Variation and Phenology

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pp. 54-95

An individual’s life history comprises progressive stages in its development, maturation, reproduction, and eventual mortality. A suite of traits is associated with this progression. Traits typically of interest in a life history are the timing of emergence, hatching, or birth; size or length at emergence, hatching, or birth; timing of the annual period of reproduction; age or size at which the onset of reproduction occurs; age or size at which reproduction ceases; and age or size at the time of death. ...

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4. Population Dynamics and Stability

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pp. 96-131

As a starting point in what will develop into a rather lengthy treatment of the related subjects of population dynamics and stability in relation to climate change, let us consider a deceptively simple illustration of the notion of stable point equilibrium in population dynamics (figure 4.1a). This figure derives from the now classic treatment of stability in deterministic and fluctuating environments by May (1973b). ...

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5. The Niche Concept

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pp. 132-162

One of the earliest applications of niche theory in quantitative ecology addressed the seemingly simple question of the extent to which the niches of two species can overlap and allow co-occurrence or coexistence of the species (May and MacArthur 1972). ...

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6. Community Dynamics and Stability

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pp. 163-216

Returning briefly to the starting point in chapter 4, we are reminded that, in May’s simple two-species community, stability was achieved through interaction between the two species in a deterministic environment, but was potentially eroded by environmental variability. Although not presented as such, this is representative of the tension hypothesis, in which biotic interactions counteract abiotic influences on the stability of the biological system. ...

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7. Biodiversity, Distributions, and Extinction

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pp. 217-248

Spawning what has since become a major subdiscipline within ecology, Elton inserted a subtle statement near the end of his landmark book on invasions in ecology (Elton 1958). In the penultimate chapter of that book, titled “The Reasons for Conservation,” which sets the stage for the final chapter, “The Conservation of Variety,” Elton commented, in passing, on the importance of complexity for ecosystem stability, ...

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8. Ecosystem Function and Dynamics

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pp. 249-296

Through their interactions with each other and with the abiotic environment, organisms transport energy and mineral nutrients within and among communities, across landscapes and the surface-subsurface boundary, between terrestrial and aquatic or marine environments, and between the biosphere and the atmosphere. At any stage along the multiple pathways of energy and nutrient exchange, climate change may act to alter the strengths of these interactions. ...

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9. Brief Remarks on Some Especially Important Considerations

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pp. 297-302

Earth’s climate is warming at a pace that may very well be unprecedented, and it is doing so from a higher baseline average temperature than that which was the starting point for the most recent episode of rapid warming, which signaled the end of the Pleistocene and the demise of most of its large mammals. That most recent warming episode also coincided with geographically widespread biome shifts. ...

References

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pp. 303-358

Index

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pp. 359-374

Other Works in the Series

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