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Experimental Ecology : Issues and Perspectives - William J. Resetarits

Experimental Ecology

Issues and Perspectives

By: William J. Resetarits (Editor), Joseph Bernardo (Editor)

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Experimentation is a dominant approach in contemporary ecological research, pervading studies at all levels of biological organization and across diverse taxa and habitats. Experimental Ecology assembles an eminent group of ecologists who synthesize insights from these varied sources into a cogent statement about experimentalism as an analytical paradigm, placing experimentation within the larger framework of ecological investigation. The book discusses diverse experimental approaches ranging from laboratory microcosms to manipulation of entire ecosystem, illustrating the myriad ways experiments strengthen ecological inference. Experimental ecologists critique their science to move the field forward on all fronts: from better designs, to better links between experiments and theory, to more realism in experiments targeted at specific systems and questions.

"The ghost of Robert H. MacArthur continues to haunt community ecology. In the 1960s, MacArthur and his colleagues revolutionized community ecology by developing simple but effective models of species interactions based on the unifying principles of competitive exclusion and the ecological niche. . . . [T]he most profound challenge to MacArthur's work came from experimental ecologists. . . . [T]hese ecologists added and removed species in communities, monitored the result, and evaluated the models in this light. . . . Experimental ecology has since developed rapidly, and ecologists have carried out sophisticated manipulative experiments in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater habitats. Experimental Ecology . . . is an edited volume with 22 contributions from the leaders of experimental ecology. . . . This symposium volume gives a state-of-the-art look at experimental ecology. . . . [T]his book was thought-provoking and enjoyable. I highly recommend it to all ecologists."--BioScience "This collection of essays is an answer to the call for mechanisms . . . Nowhere have I read a better account of the mechanistic perspective than in the lead chapter by Werner. I strongly recommended it to all ecologists contemplating experiments. Werner's scope is broad but his logic is concise, making the essay accessible and valuable to readers outside the field. . . . This volume makes two main contributions. First, it strongly advocates a mechanistic approach to the study of ecology, both philosophically and by example. . . . The second contribution of the volume is that most chapters review the work of the authors in a philosophical light, providing insights into these model systems that cannot be obtained from a typical publication, nor even from a typical published review of the literature. . . . This book will convince any ecologist that there is much to be gained by adding a mechanistic perspective to the arsenal of tools used to understand nature."--Ecology "Tinkering, observing nature out of sheer curiosity, and armchair theorizing as the early nineteenth century philosophical naturalists did, have fallen out of favor in ecology. Although such unfettered inquiry has been the mainstay of discovery and progress in science, in recent history ecologists have sought to develop a more rigorous program of inquiry. The basic structure of this program is one in which experiment, observation, and theory inform one another through an iterative process until broadly applicable, mechanistic understandings of nature emerge. This book provides twenty-two well-written and insightful overviews on the state of this program from thirty-eight leading experimental ecologists. It is a valuable, stimulating ... volume. The contributing authors are uniformly strong advocates of experimentation in ecology, but their contributions vary in the issues they address. ... [T]his is an invaluable volume for all experimental ecologists."--The Quarterly Review of Biology ". . . .this book is a must read for experimentalists, aspiring or experienced. Here is the collective wisdom of a number of scientists who through trial and error have developed extremely successful research programs based heavily on inferences from experiments. . . .this volume promises to provide an important contribution to increasing the nontechnical sophistication of experimentation within ecological research programs." --Copeia "A group of ecologists synthesize insights derived from experimental approaches ranging from laboratory microcosms to manipulation of entire ecosystems to illustrate the many ways experiments strengthen ecological inferences. The 22 contributions also critique current practices, advocating for better design, better links between experiments and theory, and more realism in experiments targeting at specific systems and questions."--SciTech Book News

Contributors 1: Earl E. Werner: Ecological Experiments and a Research Program in Community Ecology 2: Arthur E. Dunham and Steven J. Beaupre: Ecological Experiments: Scale, Phenomenology, Mechanism, and the Illusion of Generality 3: Peter J. Morin: Realism, Precision, and Generality in Experimental Ecology 4: James H. Brown: The Desert Granivory Experiments at Portal 5: Mathew S. Leibold and Alan J. Tessier: Experimental Compromise and Mechanistic Approaches to the Evolutionary Ecology of Interacting Daphnia Species 6: Mary E. Power, William E. Dietrich, and Kathleen O. Sullivan: Experimentation, Observation, and Inference in River and Watershed Investigations 7: William J. Resetarits Jr. and John E. Fauth: From Cattle Tanks to Carolina Bays: The Utility of Model Systems for Understanding Natural Communities 8: Sally J. Holbrook and Russel J. Schmitt: Have Field Experiments Aided in the Understanding of Abundance and Dynamics of Temperate Reef Fishes? 9: John H. Lawton: Ecological Experiments with Model Systems: The Ecotron Facility in Context 10: Peter S. Petraitis: How Can We Compare the Importance of Ecological Processes If We Never Ask, "Compared to What?" 11: David M. Lodge, Steven C. Blumenshine, and Yvonne Vadeboncoeur: Insights and Application of Large-Scale, Long-Term Ecological Observations and Experiments 12: Sharon P. Lawler: Ecology in a Bottle: Using Microcosms to Test Theory 13: Gary A. Polis et al.: The Interplay between Natural History and Field Experimentation 14: Elizabeth A. Marschall and Bernadette M. Roche: Using Models to Enhance the Value of Information from Observations and Experiments 15: J. A. Mongold: Experimental Approaches to Studying the Population Dynamics and Evolution of Microorganisms 16: Barbara L. Peckarsky: The Dual Role of Experiments in Complex and Dynamic Natural Systems 17: A. J. Underwood: Design, Implementation and Analysis of Ecological and Environmental Experiments: Pitfalls in the Maintenance of Logical Structures 18: J. Timothy Wootton and Catherine A. Pfister: The Motivation for and Context of Experiments in Ecology 19: Joseph Bernardo: The Logic, Value, and Necessity of Grounding Experiments in Reality: an Essential Link in the Inferential Chain Back to Nature 20: John E. Fauth: Investigating Geographic Variation in Interactions Using Common Garden Experiments 21: Robert J. Marquis and Christopher J. Whelan: Revelations and Limitations of the Experimental Approach for the Study of Plant-Animal Interactions 22: Joseph Travis and David N. Reznick: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Evolution Index

ISBN: 9780195102413
ISBN-10: 019510241X
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 488
Published: 1st April 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.0  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.85