A reprint of a classical work in the Princeton Legacy Library, originally published in 1991.
In many ecosystems dung beetles play a crucial role – both ecologically and economically – in the decomposition of large herbivore dung. Their activities provide scientists with an excellent opportunity to explore biological community dynamics. This collection of essays offers a concise account of the population and community ecology of dung beetles worldwide, with an emphasis on comparisons between arctic, temperate, and tropical species assemblages. Useful insights arise from relating the vast differences in species' life histories to their population and community-level consequences. The authors also discuss changes in dung beetle faunas due to human-caused habitat alteration and examine the possible effects of introducing dung beetles to cattle-breeding areas that lack efficient native species.
Illka Hanski (1953-2016) obtained his first degree in zoology and botany in 1976 from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and his D.Phil. in zoology in 1979 from the University of Oxford. After that he became a postdoctoral researcher and faculty member at the University of Helsinki and was research professor in the Academy of Finland, where he directed the Metapopulation Research Group, one of the national Centers of Excellence in Research. In addition, he served on the scientific advisory board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and was on the steering group of the DIVERSITAS Programme on Biodiversity. He was foreign vice president of the Society for the Study of Evolution. He has served on the editorial boards of Trends in Ecology and Evolution, The American Naturalist, Journal of Insect Conservation, Global Change Biology, Annales Zooligici Fennici, Oecologia, Oikos, and Theoretical Population Biology. In 1999, he received the International Ecology Institute Prize in Terrestrial Ecology as well as the President's Gold Medal from the British Ecological Society. In 2000, Hanski was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 2001, he received the Sewall Wright Award from the American Society of Naturalists.
"This volume is packed with data on many dimensions relevant to competition, coexistence, coevolution, and biogeography. It is an indispensable reference for anyone contemplating serious ecological work on competition and communitiy structure in general, or on this fascinating group of beetles in particular."
"With the expansion of cattle breeding areas, the ecology of dung beetles is a subject of great economic concern as well as one of intense theoretical interest. This excellent book represents an up-to-date ecological study covering important aspects of the dung beetle never before presented."
– Gonzalo Halffter, Instituto de Ecologia, Mexico City