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Resolving Ecosystem Complexity (MPB-47) : Monographs in Population Biology - Oswald J. Schmitz

Resolving Ecosystem Complexity (MPB-47)

Monographs in Population Biology

Paperback

Published: 21st July 2010
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An ecosystem's complexity develops from the vast numbers of species interacting in ecological communities. The nature of these interactions, in turn, depends on environmental context. How do these components together influence an ecosystem's behavior as a whole? Can ecologists resolve an ecosystem's complexity in order to predict its response to disturbances? "Resolving Ecosystem Complexity" develops a framework for anticipating the ways environmental context determines the functioning of ecosystems.

Oswald Schmitz addresses the critical questions of contemporary ecology: How should an ecosystem be conceptualized to blend its biotic and biophysical components? How should evolutionary ecological principles be used to derive an operational understanding of complex, adaptive ecosystems? How should the relationship between the functional biotic diversity of ecosystems and their properties be understood? Schmitz begins with the universal concept that ecosystems are comprised of species that consume resources and which are then resources for other consumers. From this, he deduces a fundamental rule or evolutionary ecological mechanism for explaining context dependency: individuals within a species trade off foraging gains against the risk of being consumed by predators. Through empirical examples, Schmitz illustrates how species use evolutionary ecological strategies to negotiate a predator-eat-predator world, and he suggests that the implications of species trade-offs are critical to making ecology a predictive science.

Bridging the traditional divides between individuals, populations, and communities in ecology, "Resolving Ecosystem Complexity" builds a systematic foundation for thinking about natural systems.

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2011 "Within the fast-growing landscape of ecological literature, this book emerges as a rare yet inspiring attempt to explain ecosystem complexity. Schmitz does this by introducing contingencies in nature and synthesizing up-to-date knowledge on species interactions, trophic structure, and ecosystem function and dynamics through stimulating questions, theoretical thinking, and empirical evidence... This is a model book in ecology, and should be used as a critical reference source for academics interested in ecological theory and recent developments in the field."--Choice "This book would be a great starting point for undergraduates considering careers in ecology and is a goldmine for graduate students looking for dissertation topics. But most importantly, this book reminds all of us that we can indeed understand the complexity of ecological systems."--Aaron M. Ellison, Ecology "Although they are strongly focused on the experimental side of ecology the range of topics covered in this book is large and coupled with at least initial experimental evidence, sometimes with fascinating hypothesis-generating extrapolations."--John H. Vandermeer, BioScience

List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tablesp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. 1
Philosophical Musingsp. 2
Explaining Contingency: A Worldviewp. 4
Contingency and Emergencep. 5
Preparing the Mind for Discoveryp. 7
Structure of the Bookp. 8
Conceptualizing Ecosystem Structurep. 10
Abstracting Complexityp. 11
Whole System vs. Building Blocks Approachp. 13
Defining Species Interaction Modulesp. 15
Identifying Interaction Modules in a Grassland Ecosystemp. 16
Conception of Ecosystem Structurep. 20
Trophic Dynamics: Why Is the World Green?p. 23
Trophic Control as an Emergent Property of Resource Limitationp. 24
Explaining Contingency in Trophic Control of Ecosystem Functionp. 26
The Nature of Resource Limitation and Trophic Control of Food Chainsp. 28
The Mechanism Switching Hypothesis of Trophic Controlp. 32
Effects of Herbivore Feeding Modep. 36
Collective Effects of Herbivore Species with Different Feeding Modesp. 38
Plant-Antiherbivore Defense and Strength of Trophic Controlp. 39
Herbivore Resource Selection and Ecosystem Functionp. 41
Stoichiometry and Herbivore Resource Usep. 42
Resource Selection and Ecosystem Functionp. 43
Herbivore Indirect Effects and Engineering of Green Worldsp. 46
Herbivore-Mediated Carnivore Indirect Effects on Ecosystemsp. 47
Carnivore Indirect Effects on Plant Diversityp. 47
Carnivore Indirect Effects on Ecosystem Functionp. 50
The Green World and the Brown Chainp. 55
Conceptualizing Functions along Detritus-Based Chainsp. 56
Resource Limitation and Trophic Controlp. 57
Trophic Control of Decompositionp. 59
Trophic Control of Mineralizationp. 61
Mechanisms of Top-Down Controlp. 62
Trophic Coupling between Detritus-Based and Plant-Based Chainsp. 64
The Evolutionary Ecology of Trophic Control in Ecosystemsp. 68
Carnivore Species and the Nature of Trophic Interactions in an Old-Field Systemp. 69
Carnivore Hunting Mode and the Nature of Trophic Interactionsp. 74
The Evolutionary Ecology of Trophic Cascadesp. 86
The Whole and the Partsp. 99
Developing Predictive Theory for Emergencep. 100
Contingency and Carnivore Diversity Effects on Ecosystemsp. 101
Carnivore Diversity and Emergent Effects on Ecosystem Functionp. 106
Shifting Down One Trophic Level: Intermediate Species Diversity and Ecosystem Functionp. 110
Herbivore Diversity and Mediation of Top-Down Control of Ecosystem Functionp. 112
Detritivore Diversity and Mediation of Top-Down Control of Ecosystem Functionp. 117
The Basal Trophic Level: Plant Diversity and Ecosystem Functionp. 118
Functional Classificationsp. 119
Resource Identity Effects on Trophic Interactionsp. 121
Moving Forward on Functional Diversity and Ecosystem Functionp. 122
The Ecological Theater and the Evolutionary Ecological Playp. 125
Phenotypic Variation and State-Dependent Trade-Offsp. 127
Attacked Plants Attract Predatorsp. 129
Predators That Avoid Predationp. 130
The Nonconsumptive Basis of Trophic Transfer Efficienciesp. 132
Trophic Interactions in a Changing Theaterp. 133
Rapid Change in Hunting Strategyp. 135
Landscapes of Fear and Ecosystem Managementp. 135
Closing Remarksp. 139
Referencesp. 143
Indexp. 167
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691128498
ISBN-10: 0691128499
Series: Monographs in Population Biology
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 21st July 2010
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.26