Until recently community ecology-a science devoted to understanding the patterns and processes of species distribution and abundance-focused mainly on specific and often limited scales of a single community. Since the 1970s, for example, metapopulation dynamics-studies of interacting groups of populations connected through movement-concentrated on the processes of population turnover, extinction, and establishment of new populations.
Metacommunities takes the hallmarks of metapopulation theory to the next level by considering a group of communities, each of which may contain numerous populations, connected by species interactions within communities and the movement of individuals between communities. In examining communities open to dispersal, the book unites a broad range of ecological theories, presenting some of the first empirical investigations and revealing the value of the metacommunity approach.
The collection of empirical, theoretical, and synthetic chapters in Metacommunities seeks to understand how communities work in fragmented landscapes. Encouraging community ecologists to rethink some of the leading theories of population and community dynamics, Metacommunities urges ecologists to expand the spatiotemporal scales of their research.
Marcel Holyoak is professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California, Davis. Mathew A. Leibold is professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas. Robert D. Holt is professor of ecology at the University of Florida.
The editors have done an excellent job organizing a volume in which readers can be supplied with solid theoretical and applied concepts while considering communities as opened entities. There is an excellent balance between theory and application. - Pedro Peres-Neto, University of Regina, Canada"