The Background of Ecology is a critical and up-to-date review of the origins and development of ecology, with emphasis on the major concepts and theories shared in the ecological traditions of plant and animal ecology, limnology, and oceanography. The work traces developments in each of these somewhat isolated areas and identifies, where possible, parallels or convergences among them. Dr McIntosh describes how ecology emerged as a science in the context of nineteenth-century natural history.
Evolutionary biology, ecology and ethics: at first glance, three different objects of research, three different worldviews and three different scientific communities. In reality, there are both structural and historical links between these disciplines. First, some topics are obviously common across the board. Second, the emerging need for environmental policy management has gradually but radically changed the relationship between these disciplines. Over the last decades in particular, there has emerged a need for an interconnecting meta-paradigm that integrates more strictly evolutionary studies, biodiversity studies and the ethical frameworks that are most appropriate for allowing a lasting co-evolution between natural and social systems. Today such a need is more than a mere luxury, it is an epistemological and practical necessity.
A plethora of different theories, models, and concepts make up the field of community ecology. Amid this vast body of work, is it possible to build one general theory of ecological communities? What other scientific areas might serve as a guiding framework? As it turns out, the core focus of community ecology—understanding patterns of diversity and composition of biological variants across space and time—is shared by evolutionary biology and its very coherent conceptual framework, population genetics theory. The Theory of Ecological Communities takes this as a starting point to pull together community ecology's various perspectives into a more unified whole. Mark Vellend builds a theory of ecological communities based on four overarching processes: selection among species, drift, dispersal, and speciation. These are analogues of the four central processes in population genetics theory—selection within species, drift, gene flow, and mutation—and together they subsume almost all of the many dozens of more specific models built to describe the dynamics of communities of interacting species. The result is a theory that allows the effects of many low-level processes, such as competition, facilitation, predation, disturbance, stress, succession, colonization, and local extinction to be understood as the underpinnings of high-level processes with widely applicable consequences for ecological communities. Reframing the numerous existing ideas in community ecology, The Theory of Ecological Communities provides a new way for thinking about biological composition and diversity.
Thermodynamics is used increasingly in ecology to understand the system properties of ecosystems because it is a basic science that describes energy transformation from a holistic view. In the last decade, many contributions to ecosystem theory based on thermodynamics have been published, therefore an important step toward integrating these theories and encouraging a more wide spread use of them is to present them in one volume. An ecosystem consists of interdependent living organisms that are also interdependent with their environment, all of which are involved in a constant transfer of energy and mass within a general state of equilibrium or dis-equilibrium. Thermodynamics can quantify exactly how "organized" or "disorganized" a system is - an extremely useful to know when trying to understand how a dynamic ecosystem is behaving. A part of the Environmental and Ecological (Math) Modeling series, Thermodynamics and Ecology is a book-length study - the first of its kind - of the current thinking on how an ecosystem can be explained and predicted in terms of its thermodynamical behavior. After the introductory chapters on the fundamentals of thermodynamics, the book explains how thermodynamic theory can be specifically applied to the "measurement" of an ecosystem, including the assessment of its state of entropy and enthalpy. Additionally, it will show economists how to put these theories to use when trying to quantify the movement of goods and services through another type of complex living system - a human society.
Presenting a global and interdisciplinary approach to plant ecology, this much-awaited new edition of the book Plants and Vegetation integrates classical themes with the latest ideas, models, and data. Keddy draws on extensive teaching experience to bring the field to life, guiding students through essential concepts with numerous real-world examples and full-colour illustrations throughout. The chapters begin by presenting the wider picture of the origin of plants and their impact on the Earth, before exploring the search for global patterns in plants and vegetation. Chapters on resources, stress, competition, herbivory, and mutualism explore causation, and a concluding chapter on conservation addresses the concern that one-third of all plant species are at risk of extinction. The scope of this edition is broadened further by a new chapter on population ecology, along with extensive examples including South African deserts, the Guyana Highlands of South America, Himalayan forests and arctic alpine environments.
Contributions of Place-Based Research to Ecological Understanding
Author: Ian Billick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Ecologists can spend a lifetime researching a small patch of the earth, studying the interactions between organisms and the environment, and exploring the roles those interactions play in determining distribution, abundance, and evolutionary change. With so few ecologists and so many systems to study, generalizations are essential. But how do you extrapolate knowledge about a well-studied area and apply it elsewhere? Through a range of original essays written by eminent ecologists and naturalists, The Ecology of Place explores how place-focused research yields exportable general knowledge as well as practical local knowledge, and how society can facilitate ecological understanding by investing in field sites, place-centered databases, interdisciplinary collaborations, and field-oriented education programs that emphasize natural history. This unique patchwork of case-study narratives, philosophical musings, and historical analyses is tied together with commentaries from editors Ian Billick and Mary Price that develop and synthesize common threads. The result is a unique volume rich with all-too-rare insights into how science is actually done, as told by scientists themselves.
Seeking Sustainability in an Age of Complexity explains the difficulties of sustainability and why 'collapse' can occur. In the last twenty years the theory of complexity has been developed - complex systems science (CSS) speaks to natural systems and particularly to ecological, social and economic systems and their interaction. Due to the growing concern over the huge changes occurring in the global environment, such as climate change, deforestation, habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity, Graham Harris sets out what has been learned in an attempt to understand the implications of these changes and suggests ways to move forward. This book discusses a number of emerging tools for the management of 'unruly' complexity which facilitate stronger regional dialogues about knowledge and values, which will be of interest to ecologists, sociologists, economists, natural resource managers and scientists in State and local governments and those involved in water and landscape management.
Slack enjoyed full access to Hutchinson's archives and conducted extensive interviews both with Hutchinson himself and with his students, colleagues, and friends. She evaluates his contributions to theoretical ecology, limnology (the study of fresh-water ecosystems), biogeochemistry, population ecology, and the creation of the new fields of systems ecology and radiation ecology, and she discusses his profound influence as a mentor. The book also looks into his personal life, which included three very different wives, a refugee baby under his care during World War II, friendships with such contemporaries as Rebecca West, Margaret Mead, and Gregory Bateson, and a host of colleagues and friends on four continents. Filled with information available nowhere else, this book draws a vibrant portrait of a giant in the discipline of twentieth-century ecology who was also a man of remarkable personal appeal. --Book Jacket.