Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Scaling Relations in Experimental Ecology

Scaling Relations in Experimental Ecology

Robert H. Gardner
W. Michael Kemp
Victor S. Kennedy
John E. Petersen
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 352
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Scaling Relations in Experimental Ecology
    Book Description:

    This book discusses the impact of recent advances in the theory of "scaling relationships" and identifies critical issues that must be considered if experimental results are used to understand the temporal and spatial scales of actual ecosystems.

    The complexity of ecosystems complicates experimental design. How, for example, does a scientist draw boundaries when studying species effects and interactions? Once these boundaries are drawn, how does one treat factors external to that study? Will the failure to consider external factors affect one's ability to extrapolate information across temporal and spatial scales? This volume provides a compilation from a broad range of ecologists with extensive experimental research experience that addresses these and other questions of scaling relations.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50493-5
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xxii)
    (pp. xxiii-xxx)
    Robert H. Gardner, W. Michael Kemp, Victor S. Kennedy and John E. Petersen

    • CHAPTER 1 Scale-Dependence and the Problem of Extrapolation: Implications for Experimental and Natural Coastal Ecosystems
      (pp. 3-58)
      W. Michael Kemp, John E. Petersen and Robert H. Gardner

      Experiments designed to elucidate cause-and-effect relationships underlying the workings of natural ecosystems are fundamental to the advancement of ecological science (Lawton 1995). During the last two decades there have been two parallel trends reflected in the ecological literature that are relevant to the goal of improving the quality of ecosystem-level research. The first is an increased recognition of the importance of temporal and spatial scale as determinants of ecological pattern and dynamics in nature (figure 1.1a). The second is a growing reliance on controlled, manipulative experiments, both in the field and in enclosed experimental ecosystems, as a means of testing...


    • CHAPTER 2 Understanding the Problem of Scale in Experimental Ecology
      (pp. 61-88)
      John A. Wiens

      Scale has been called “the new frontier of ecology” (Allen and Roberts 1998). Yet Kareiva (1994) referred to space as ecology’s final frontier, and Klomp and Lunt (1997) edited an entire book about “frontiers in ecology” that includes, in addition to scale and space, such diverse topics as adaptive management, disturbance ecology, land-water linkages, ecosystem complexity, climate change, ecological economics, and land-use planning. Ecology seems to be full of frontiers. All these topics arguably meet the dictionary definition of a frontier as “a new or undeveloped area of knowledge” or “a new field that offers scope for activity.” I suspect...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Nature of the Scale Issue in Experimentation
      (pp. 89-112)
      Timothy F. H. Allen

      So long as the models we use and test invoke a simple system, then the myth of objectivity is as good a myth as any. I use it every day as I assert that my office is real, and it will be there when I get back. But the myth of objectivity fails for complex systems, the ones that matter most in the modern world. Failure comes because models that invoke a complex system require scientists and their conversants each individually to make a large number of arbitrary decisions. Since experiments are one of the more focused devices of ecology,...

    • CHAPTER 4 Spatial Allometry: Theory and Application to Experimental and Natural Aquatic Ecosystems
      (pp. 113-154)
      David C. Schneider

      The increasing use of scale represents an enduring change in the way that ecology is pursued; it may well emerge as a unifying concept (Steele 1991; Allen and Hoekstra 1992; Levin 1992). The burgeoning interest in the topic is readily quantified. The phrase “spatial scale” appears for the first time in the journal Ecology in 1972, then appears in one or two articles per year until 1983. The phrase then appears in 7 articles in 1984, 15 in 1989, and 25 in 1994. Recognition of the need for multiscale analysis grew rapidly in the 1980s as it became clear that...


    • CHAPTER 5 Getting It Right and Wrong: Extrapolations Across Experimental Scales
      (pp. 157-178)
      Michael L. Pace

      Experiments in ecology are criticized for many sins ranging from poor designs (Hurlbert 1984; Underwood 1994) to irrelevance (Peters 1991; Carpenter 1996; Resetarits and Bernardo 1998). These criticisms reflect, in part, a significant concern about relating experimental results to ecological reality. Simply put, how do we use what we learn in experiments? Ideally, experiments reveal interactions, expose underlying mechanisms, and support or refute models. There remains, however, a critical problem about how to relate even the best experiments to the ecological systems of ultimate interest, because results may include scale-dependencies that do not extrapolate.

      In considering this problem, two general...

    • CHAPTER 6 Some Reluctant Ruminations on Scales (and Claws and Teeth) in Marine Mesocosms
      (pp. 179-190)
      Scott Nixon

      I am not completely sure why the mention of scaling makes me itch, but it does. And I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that the term brings to mind an unpleasant skin condition. As a working ecologist I have a problem getting a real grip on the subject. On the one hand, many discussions of scale and scaling use terms that sound impressive but lack clear operational definitions. On the other hand, there is a very precise and growing theoretical literature that requires a level of mathematical competence far beyond mine. I suspect that some...

    • CHAPTER 7 Evaluating and Modeling Foraging Performance of Planktivorous and Piscivorous Fish: Effects of Containment and Issues of Scale
      (pp. 191-222)
      Michael R. Heath and Edward D. Houde

      Feeding by fish may exercise a “top-down” control over lower trophic levels in aquatic ecosystems. Both species and size composition of prey may be controlled. The process through which top-down control is exercised is dependent upon feeding behaviors and consumption potential of fish. Evidence for top-down control has been derived primarily from experimentation in artificially enclosed freshwater ecosystems (Threlkeld 1987; Carpenter 1988; Horsted et al. 1988; Carpenter and Kitchell 1992; DeMelo et al. 1992; Abreu et al 1994; Ramcharan et al. 1995, 1996; Proulx et al. 1996; Brett and Goldman 1997; Vanni and Layne 1997). Results of those studies sometimes...

    • CHAPTER 8 Experimental Validity and Ecological Scale as Criteria for Evaluating Research Programs
      (pp. 223-250)
      Shahid Naeem

      Experimental ecology lies within the spectrum of ecological methodology, a continuum that runs from passive observation to pure thought (i.e., theoretical abstractions of nature, either mathematical, verbal, or graphical). In experimental ecology, experiments are constructed to test hypotheses derived from either observation or theory. Several authors have reviewed the design, interpretation, and role of experiments in ecology (Hurlbert 1984; Hairston 1989; Peters 1991; Scheiner and Gurevitch 1993; Hilborn and Mangel 1997; Underwood 1997). Because patterns derived from passive observation cannot identify mechanisms whereas theories employing different mechanisms can describe the same pattern, an important objective in experimental ecology is to...


    • CHAPTER 9 Scaling Issues in Experimental Ecology: Freshwater Ecosystems
      (pp. 253-280)
      Thomas M. Frost, Robert E. Ulanowicz, Steve C. Blumenshine, Timothy F. H. Allen, Frieda Taub and John H. Rodgers Jr.

      Experiments have contributed substantially to our understanding of ecological processes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Hairston 1989; Resetarits and Bernardo 1998). Their use has been particularly effective in studies of freshwater ecosystems (Lodge, Blumenshine et al. 1998), in part because many key processes in aquatic habitats operate at scales that lend themselves to experimentation. Informative experiments have been conducted at scales ranging from test tubes and liter-sized containers to whole lakes and streams. Whole-ecosystem manipulations have had substantial advantages for experimental work (Carpenter et al. 1995), but such large-scale experiments also have some significant drawbacks and can not always be...

    • CHAPTER 10 Terrestrial Perspectives on Issues of Scale in Experimental Ecology
      (pp. 281-298)
      Anthony W. King, Robert H. Gardner, Colleen A. Hatfield, Shahid Naeem, John E. Petersen and John A. Wiens

      The 1980s were a watershed for the consideration of scale in terrestrial ecology—a period when developments in diverse disciplines crystallized into a new and coherent perspective on the importance of the role of spatial and temporal dimensions of ecological experiments and observations. Allen and Starr (1982) heightened the formal discussion of scale in their seminal treatise on hierarchy theory as a perspective for ecological systems. From their treatment of scale, couched largely in terms of information flow and filters, emerged a strong argument for the fundamental importance of the scale of observation in system description. Later work reinforced that...

    • CHAPTER 11 Issues of Scale in Land-Margin Ecosystems
      (pp. 299-330)
      Walter R. Boynton, James D. Hagy and Denise L. Breitburg

      We decided to begin this chapter with the above quotes, which come from very different perspectives, to entice the reader into reading on and to remind ourselves that scale is so very central to our understanding of most things, be they arts or ecology. This chapter discusses issues of scale primarily in those ecosystems that form the interface between the terrestrial and marine realms, the estuaries, coastal embayments, lagoons, and salt marshes we refer to as land-margin ecosystems.

      On a global basis, land-margin ecosystems constitute a small percentage (~0.5%) of the world’s oceanic areas. However, the high fisheries production, proximity...

    • CHAPTER 12 Scaling Issues in Marine Experimental Ecosystems: The Role of Patchiness
      (pp. 331-360)
      David L. Scheurer, David C. Schneider and Lawrence P. Sanford

      If one expands the definition of a marine experimental ecosystem to include any artificial system that isolates a parcel of water from the natural environment, then most in situ aquatic studies (e.g., bottle experiments, floating pens, etc.), as well as typical mesocosm experiments, can be included under this heading. Any type of containment also entails a physical and biological isolation, dependent on the size of the enclosure (Frost et al. 1988). Problems can arise, however, when the results from these simplified and truncated systems are extrapolated to longer and broader time-space scales (Carpenter 1996). The implicit assumption for extrapolation is...

  11. INDEX
    (pp. 361-374)