Resolving ecosystem complexity
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.
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Conceptualizing Ecosystem Structure
Why Is the World Green?
The Green World and the Brown Chain
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3-level abundance actively hunting arthropod Beckerman behavior Belovsky biomass broad habitat domain canopy carnivore effects carnivore species carnivores on plants conception consumers contingency decomposition density detrital detritivores detritus-based direct and indirect dynamics ecosys ecosystem ecology ecosystem function ecosystem properties eelgrass effect of carnivores effects of predators effects on ecosystem effects on plant evolutionary experimental experiments figure food chain food web food webs foraging functional traits grasses and herbs grasshopper grassland grazer habitat domain habitat shift herbivores individual Krivan log ratio mineralization multiple carnivore nonconsumptive effects nutrient Oecologia old-field organic matter phenotypic plasticity Phidippus Pisaurina plant biomass plant species plant-based chain Polis positive indirect effect predation risk predictive prey species properties and functions Rabidosa reduce relative resource relative resource limitation rugosa Schmitz Schoener sit-and-wait species diversity spider structure studies theory tion top-down control top-down effects Trait-mediated treatments trophic cascades trophic chains trophic control trophic interactions trophic levels vores