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Monographs in Population Biology

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Monographs in Population Biology

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Adaptive Diversification (MPB-48)

Michael Doebeli

Understanding the mechanisms driving biological diversity remains a central problem in ecology and evolutionary biology. Traditional explanations assume that differences in selection pressures lead to different adaptations in geographically separated locations. This book takes a different approach and explores adaptive diversification--diversification rooted in ecological interactions and frequency-dependent selection. In any ecosystem, birth and death rates of individuals are affected by interactions with other individuals. What is an advantageous phenotype therefore depends on the phenotype of other individuals, and it may often be best to be ecologically different from the majority phenotype. Such rare-type advantage is a hallmark of frequency-dependent selection and opens the scope for processes of diversification that require ecological contact rather than geographical isolation.

Michael Doebeli investigates adaptive diversification using the mathematical framework of adaptive dynamics. Evolutionary branching is a paradigmatic feature of adaptive dynamics that serves as a basic metaphor for adaptive diversification, and Doebeli explores the scope of evolutionary branching in many different ecological scenarios, including models of coevolution, cooperation, and cultural evolution. He also uses alternative modeling approaches. Stochastic, individual-based models are particularly useful for studying adaptive speciation in sexual populations, and partial differential equation models confirm the pervasiveness of adaptive diversification.

Showing that frequency-dependent interactions are an important driver of biological diversity, Adaptive Diversification provides a comprehensive theoretical treatment of adaptive diversification.

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Communities and Ecosystems

Linking the Aboveground and Belowground Components (MPB-34)

David A. Wardle

Most of the earth's terrestrial species live in the soil. These organisms, which include many thousands of species of fungi and nematodes, shape aboveground plant and animal life as well as our climate and atmosphere. Indeed, all terrestrial ecosystems consist of interdependent aboveground and belowground compartments. Despite this, aboveground and belowground ecology have been conducted largely in isolation. This book represents the first major synthesis to focus explicitly on the connections between aboveground and belowground subsystems--and their importance for community structure and ecosystem functioning.

David Wardle integrates a vast body of literature from numerous fields--including population ecology, ecosystem ecology, ecophysiology, ecological theory, soil science, and global-change biology--to explain the key conceptual issues relating to how aboveground and belowground communities affect one another and the processes that each component carries out. He then applies these concepts to a host of critical questions, including the regulation and function of biodiversity as well as the consequences of human-induced global change in the form of biological invasions, extinctions, atmospheric carbon-dioxide enrichment, nitrogen deposition, land-use change, and global warming.

Through ambitious theoretical synthesis and a tremendous range of examples, Wardle shows that the key biotic drivers of community and ecosystem properties involve linkages between aboveground and belowground food webs, biotic interaction, the spatial and temporal dynamics of component organisms, and, ultimately, the ecophysiological traits of those organisms that emerge as ecological drivers. His conclusions will propel theoretical and empirical work throughout ecology.

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Complex Population Dynamics

A Theoretical/Empirical Synthesis (MPB-35)

Peter Turchin

Why do organisms become extremely abundant one year and then seem to disappear a few years later? Why do population outbreaks in particular species happen more or less regularly in certain locations, but only irregularly (or never at all) in other locations? Complex population dynamics have fascinated biologists for decades. By bringing together mathematical models, statistical analyses, and field experiments, this book offers a comprehensive new synthesis of the theory of population oscillations.

Peter Turchin first reviews the conceptual tools that ecologists use to investigate population oscillations, introducing population modeling and the statistical analysis of time series data. He then provides an in-depth discussion of several case studies--including the larch budmoth, southern pine beetle, red grouse, voles and lemmings, snowshoe hare, and ungulates--to develop a new analysis of the mechanisms that drive population oscillations in nature. Through such work, the author argues, ecologists can develop general laws of population dynamics that will help turn ecology into a truly quantitative and predictive science.

Complex Population Dynamics integrates theoretical and empirical studies into a major new synthesis of current knowledge about population dynamics. It is also a pioneering work that sets the course for ecology's future as a predictive science.

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The Ecological Detective

Confronting Models with Data (MPB-28)

Ray Hilborn

The modern ecologist usually works in both the field and laboratory, uses statistics and computers, and often works with ecological concepts that are model-based, if not model-driven. How do we make the field and laboratory coherent? How do we link models and data? How do we use statistics to help experimentation? How do we integrate modeling and statistics? How do we confront multiple hypotheses with data and assign degrees of belief to different hypotheses? How do we deal with time series (in which data are linked from one measurement to the next) or put multiple sources of data into one inferential framework? These are the kinds of questions asked and answered by The Ecological Detective.

Ray Hilborn and Marc Mangel investigate ecological data much as a detective would investigate a crime scene by trying different hypotheses until a coherent picture emerges. The book is not a set of pat statistical procedures but rather an approach. The Ecological Detective makes liberal use of computer programming for the generation of hypotheses, exploration of data, and the comparison of different models. The authors' attitude is one of exploration, both statistical and graphical. The background required is minimal, so that students with an undergraduate course in statistics and ecology can profitably add this work to their tool-kit for solving ecological problems.

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Ecological Niches and Geographic Distributions (MPB-49)

A. Townsend Peterson

This book provides a first synthetic view of an emerging area of ecology and biogeography, linking individual- and population-level processes to geographic distributions and biodiversity patterns. Problems in evolutionary ecology, macroecology, and biogeography are illuminated by this integrative view. The book focuses on correlative approaches known as ecological niche modeling, species distribution modeling, or habitat suitability modeling, which use associations between known occurrences of species and environmental variables to identify environmental conditions under which populations can be maintained. The spatial distribution of environments suitable for the species can then be estimated: a potential distribution for the species. This approach has broad applicability to ecology, evolution, biogeography, and conservation biology, as well as to understanding the geographic potential of invasive species and infectious diseases, and the biological implications of climate change.

The authors lay out conceptual foundations and general principles for understanding and interpreting species distributions with respect to geography and environment. Focus is on development of niche models. While serving as a guide for students and researchers, the book also provides a theoretical framework to support future progress in the field.

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Ecology of Climate Change

The Importance of Biotic Interactions

Eric Post

Rising temperatures are affecting organisms in all of Earth's biomes, but the complexity of ecological responses to climate change has hampered the development of a conceptually unified treatment of them. In a remarkably comprehensive synthesis, this book presents past, ongoing, and future ecological responses to climate change in the context of two simplifying hypotheses, facilitation and interference, arguing that biotic interactions may be the primary driver of ecological responses to climate change across all levels of biological organization.

Eric Post's synthesis and analyses of ecological consequences of climate change extend from the Late Pleistocene to the present, and through the next century of projected warming. His investigation is grounded in classic themes of enduring interest in ecology, but developed around novel conceptual and mathematical models of observed and predicted dynamics. Using stability theory as a recurring theme, Post argues that the magnitude of climatic variability may be just as important as the magnitude and direction of change in determining whether populations, communities, and species persist. He urges a more refined consideration of species interactions, emphasizing important distinctions between lateral and vertical interactions and their disparate roles in shaping responses of populations, communities, and ecosystems to climate change.

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Food Webs (MPB-50)

Kevin S. McCann

Human impacts are dramatically altering our natural ecosystems but the exact repercussions on ecological sustainability and function remain unclear. As a result, food web theory has experienced a proliferation of research seeking to address these critical areas. Arguing that the various recent and classical food web theories can be looked at collectively and in a highly consistent and testable way, Food Webs synthesizes and reconciles modern and classical perspectives into a general unified theory.

Kevin McCann brings together outcomes from population-, community-, and ecosystem-level approaches under the common currency of energy or material fluxes. He shows that these approaches--often studied in isolation--all have the same general implications in terms of population dynamic stability. Specifically, increased fluxes of energy or material tend to destabilize populations, communities, and whole ecosystems. With this understanding, stabilizing structures at different levels of the ecological hierarchy can be identified and any population-, community-, or ecosystem-level structures that mute energy or material flow also stabilize systems dynamics. McCann uses this powerful general framework to discuss the effects of human impact on the stability and sustainability of ecological systems, and he demonstrates that there is clear empirical evidence that the structures supporting ecological systems have been dangerously eroded.

Uniting the latest research on food webs with classical theories, this book will be a standard source in the understanding of natural food web functions.

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From Populations to Ecosystems

Theoretical Foundations for a New Ecological Synthesis (MPB-46)

Michel Loreau

The major subdisciplines of ecology--population ecology, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, and evolutionary ecology--have diverged increasingly in recent decades. What is critically needed today is an integrated, real-world approach to ecology that reflects the interdependency of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. From Populations to Ecosystems proposes an innovative theoretical synthesis that will enable us to advance our fundamental understanding of ecological systems and help us to respond to today's emerging global ecological crisis.

Michel Loreau begins by explaining how the principles of population dynamics and ecosystem functioning can be merged. He then addresses key issues in the study of biodiversity and ecosystems, such as functional complementarity, food webs, stability and complexity, material cycling, and metacommunities. Loreau describes the most recent theoretical advances that link the properties of individual populations to the aggregate properties of communities, and the properties of functional groups or trophic levels to the functioning of whole ecosystems, placing special emphasis on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Finally, he turns his attention to the controversial issue of the evolution of entire ecosystems and their properties, laying the theoretical foundations for a genuine evolutionary ecosystem ecology.

From Populations to Ecosystems points the way to a much-needed synthesis in ecology, one that offers a fuller understanding of ecosystem processes in the natural world.

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The Functional Consequences of Biodiversity

Empirical Progress and Theoretical Extensions (MPB-33)

David Tilman

Does biodiversity influence how ecosystems function? Might diversity loss affect the ability of ecosystems to deliver services of benefit to humankind? Ecosystems provide food, fuel, fiber, and drinkable water, regulate local and regional climate, and recycle needed nutrients, among other things. An ecosyste's ability to sustain functioning may depend on the number of species residing in the ecosystem--its biological diversity--but this has been a controversial hypothesis. There are many unanswered questions about how and why changes in biodiversity could alter ecosystem functioning. This volume, written by top researchers, synthesizes empirical studies on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and extends that knowledge using a novel and coordinated set of models and theoretical approaches.

These experimental and theoretical analyses demonstrate that functioning usually increases with biodiversity, but also reveals when and under what circumstances other relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning might occur. It also accounts for apparent changes in diversity-functioning relationships that emerge over time in disturbed ecosystems, thereby addressing a major controversy in the field. The volume concludes with a blueprint for moving beyond small-scale studies to regional ones--a move of enormous significance for policy and conservation but one that will entail tackling some of the most fundamental challenges in ecology.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Juan Armesto, Claudia Neuhauser, Andy Hector, Clarence Lehman, Peter Kareiva, Sharon Lawler, Peter Chesson, Teri Balser, Mary K. Firestone, Robert Holt, Michel Loreau, Johannes Knops, David Wedin, Peter Reich, Shahid Naeem, Bernhard Schmid, Jasmin Joshi, and Felix Schläpfer.

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Genetic Structure and Selection in Subdivided Populations (MPB-40)

Fran├žois Rousset

Various approaches have been developed to evaluate the consequences of spatial structure on evolution in subdivided populations. This book is both a review and new synthesis of several of these approaches, based on the theory of spatial genetic structure. François Rousset examines Sewall Wright's methods of analysis based on F-statistics, effective size, and diffusion approximation; coalescent arguments; William Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory; and approaches rooted in game theory and adaptive dynamics. Setting these in a framework that reveals their common features, he demonstrates how efficient tools developed within one approach can be applied to the others.

Rousset not only revisits classical models but also presents new analyses of more recent topics, such as effective size in metapopulations. The book, most of which does not require fluency in advanced mathematics, includes a self-contained exposition of less easily accessible results. It is intended for advanced graduate students and researchers in evolutionary ecology and population genetics, and will also interest applied mathematicians working in probability theory as well as statisticians.

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