The increasing interest during recent years in vegetation history, long-term climatic changes and the development of biotic communities has resulted in a growth of the literature in this field and has provided an incentive for scientists to use palaeo-ecology concepts to clarify contemporary ecological issues. Quaternary ecology offers the perspective of time, in using "natural experiments of the past" to evaluate the responses of population, communities and ecosystems to climatic and environmental changes on a time scale extending back over the past two milion years of the quaternary period. Examples from the palaeo-ecological literature demonstrate how quaternary ecology interfaces with other branches of ecology, including plant demography, ecological genetics, limnology and landscape ecology. The book provides an integrated overview of this interdisciplinary area.
The authors examine the validity of space for time substitution in studies of plant succession, the individualistic nature of species migrations and invasions of pre-existing communities, the disassembly and reassembly of communities following major environmental change and the applications of quaternary ecology to predicting biotic responses to future global climatic change. By examining key ecological issues and controversies that can be approached fruitfully using palaeo-ecological methods, this book is intended to complement rather than replace traditional textbooks in ecology and palaeo-ecology.
Part 1 The palaeo-ecological perspective: ecological and evolutionary time scales; research design; principles of palaeo-ecological reconstruction; hierarchical relationships. Part 2 Dispersal, invasion, expansion and migrational strategies of populations: issues; dispersal; invasion; expansion of populations; migrational strategies. Part 3 Plant succession: issues; primary succession on glacial moraines; hydrosere succession; unidirectional successional changes; cycles of secondary succession; anthropogenic influences. Part 4 Gradients, continua and ecotones: issues; gradient analysis and the continuum concept; ecotones and ecoclines; community disassembly and reassembly. Part 5 Factors structuring communities: issues; climate and climatic change; climatic modulation of disturbance regimes; soil development, substrate control and geomorphic processes; biological interactions. Part 6 Ecosystem patterns and processes: issues; cycles of ecosystem development; hubbard brook/mirror lake watershed; natural and anthropogenic ecosystem changes in Switzerland; Mayan impact on watersheds in the Peten; palaeolimnological record of lake eutrophication, paludification and acidification; extinct ecosystems - the pleistocene Arctic steppe-tundra hypothesis. Part 7 Application of quaternary ecology to future global change: issues; global climatic change and the greenhouse effect; past analogues for effects of future global warming; carbon balance of Alaskan tundra and taiga ecosystems; computer simulations of long-term changes in forest composition and biomass; nature preserves and conservation of biological diversity.
Number Of Pages: 242
Publisher: Chapman and Hall
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.34 x 15.75
Weight (kg): 0.34