Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective

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Columbia University Press, 1997 - Science - 201 pages
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Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective provides an entirely fresh view of the origins of organization in living systems. Writing for theoretical ecologists, biologists, and philosophers of science, Robert Ulanowicz mounts a powerful challenge to prevailing mechanistic paradigms of ecology. Ecology, Ulanowicz argues, needs a more robust central paradigm, and this book presents one derived from current work in information theory, ecosystem energetics, and complexity theory; the result is a theoretical and empirical tool kit better able to measure the developmental status of any living community. Ranging widely to explore critical issues in the history of science - order, causality, progress, laws - the book sets forth a coherent theoretical framework for ecology. A challenge to existing Newtonian and Darwinian paradigms, Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective demonstrates that a theoretically reshaped science of ecology, better suited to portraying the dynamics of the natural world, can be a more effective means of ensuring its health.
 

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Contents

The Exceptional Science
1
Causality in the Age of Science
11
The Emergence of Order
36
Quantifying Growth and Development
56
Extending Ascendency
96
Other Members of the Elephant
104
Practical Applications
120
The Ascendent Worldview
144
REFERENCES
167
NAME INDEX
179
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About the author (1997)

Andrea Belgrano is a Researcher at the National Center for Genome Resources, University of New Mexico. Ursula Scharler is a Fellow of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center at the University of Maryland. Jennifer Dunne is an ecologist with interests in computational ecology and
ecoinformatics. She is a co-founder and the assistant director of the Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab, a visiting researcher at the Santa Fe Institute, and a principal investigator at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Robert E. Ulanowicz is Professor of Theoretical
Ecology with the University of Maryland's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. His current interests include network analysis of trophic exchanges in ecosystems, information theory as applied to ecological systems, the thermodynamics of living systems, causality in living systems, and modelling
subtropical wetland ecosystems in Florida and Belize.

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