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Resolving Ecosystem Complexity


Series: Monographs in Population Biology Volume: 47

By: Oswald J Schmitz

176 pages, 32 figs

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Aug 2010 | #186394 | ISBN-13: 9780691128498
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NHBS Price: £30.95 $38/€35 approx
Hardback | Aug 2010 | #186393 | ISBN-13: 9780691128481
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About this book

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. This book develops a framework for anticipating the ways environmental context determines the functioning of ecosystems.

The author 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 for explaining context dependency: individuals within a species trade off foraging gains against the risk of being consumed by predators. Through empirical examples, the book illustrates how species use evolutionary ecological strategies to negotiate a predator-eat-predator world, and it suggests that the implications of species trade-offs are critical to making ecology a predictive science.

Resolving Ecosystem Complexity presents a modern synthesis of trophic structure and function that addresses some of the most fundamental questions raised by Darwin, Tansley, and Hutchinson. Through rigorous analysis of case studies and data, Schmitz brings to life the importance of direct and indirect interactions on the functioning of ecosystems. This clear and compelling book is a must-read for scientists and educators interested in integrative ecosystem analysis.--Adrien Finzi, Boston University "This ambitious and inspiring book is a valuable contribution to ecology. Highly synthetic, it melds an overall approach to science with summaries of detailed empirical and theoretical work. Resolving Ecosystem Complexity is remarkably well done and I learned a great deal from reading this important book."--Anurag Agrawal, Cornell University "This book focuses on the importance of multitrophic interactions in ecology. It illuminates significant points and helped me to think about complex ecosystems more clearly."--Frederick R. Adler, University of Utah


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Conceptualizing Ecosystem Structure
Chapter 3: Trophic Dynamics: Why Is the World Green?
Chapter 4: The Green World and the Brown Chain
Chapter 5: The Evolutionary Ecology of Trophic Control in Ecosystems
Chapter 6: The Whole and the Parts
Chapter 7: The Ecological Theater and the Evolutionary Ecological Play

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Oswald J. Schmitz is the Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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