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The Princeton Guide to Ecology

The Princeton Guide to Ecology

Simon A. Levin editor
Stephen R. Carpenter
H. Charles J. Godfray
Ann P. Kinzig
Michel Loreau
Jonathan B. Losos
Brian Walker
David S. Wilcove
MANAGING EDITOR Christopher G. Morris
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 848
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  • Book Info
    The Princeton Guide to Ecology
    Book Description:

    The Princeton Guide to Ecologyis a concise, authoritative one-volume reference to the field's major subjects and key concepts. Edited by eminent ecologist Simon Levin, with contributions from an international team of leading ecologists, the book contains more than ninety clear, accurate, and up-to-date articles on the most important topics within seven major areas: autecology, population ecology, communities and ecosystems, landscapes and the biosphere, conservation biology, ecosystem services, and biosphere management. Complete with more than 200 illustrations (including sixteen pages in color), a glossary of key terms, a chronology of milestones in the field, suggestions for further reading on each topic, and an index, this is an essential volume for undergraduate and graduate students, research ecologists, scientists in related fields, policymakers, and anyone else with a serious interest in ecology.

    Explains key topics in one concise and authoritative volumeFeatures more than ninety articles written by an international team of leading ecologistsContains more than 200 illustrations, including sixteen pages in colorIncludes glossary, chronology, suggestions for further reading, and indexCovers autecology, population ecology, communities and ecosystems, landscapes and the biosphere, conservation biology, ecosystem services, and biosphere management

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3302-3
    Subjects: General Science, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

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  1. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Simon A. Levin
  2. I Autecology
    (pp. 1-152)
    Jonathan B. Losos

    Autecology refers to how a single species interacts with the environment; its counterpart is synecology, which refers to how multiple species interact with each other. This latter termismostly congruentwith the field of community ecology, the subject of part III of this volume.

    Integral to any discussion of autecology is the concept of the niche. This concept has a long and checkered history in the field of ecology, and the term itself has taken on different meanings through time (chapter I.1). In the most general sense, however, we may think of the niche of a population as the way members of...

  3. II Population Ecology
    (pp. 153-252)
    H. Charles J. Godfray

    Understanding what determines the average abundance of species, why their numbers fluctuate, and how they interact with each other is a major part of modern ecology often united under the term population ecology. Of course, the boundaries of population ecology are ill-defined and porous: on the one hand the field grades into physiological ecology—how individuals interact with the environment— and on the other hand into community ecology–the study of large assemblages of species. Population ecology is part of the larger subject of population biology that encompasses both the evolutionary and the ecological processes affecting populations.

    The human race...

  4. III Communities and Ecosystems
    (pp. 253-422)
    Michel Loreau

    Ecology is the science of the interactions between living organisms and their environment. What makes ecology so fascinating, and at the same time so disturbing for the layperson, is the extraordinary diversity and complexity of these interactions, which create a wide range of nested complex systems from the scale of a droplet of water to that of the entire planet. Anything that happens here and now is almost certain to have an effect elsewhere and later. And this also concerns us as humans. Just as any other species, we transform the world around us by the mere act of living—...

  5. IV Landscapes and the Biosphere
    (pp. 423-509)
    Brian Walker

    The aim of this section of thePrinceton GuidetoEcologyis to provide an understanding of ecology at the scale of landscapes. Viewed in this way, terrestrial landscapes can be thought of as self-organizing systems of topographically determined physical/chemical factors interacting with the biological components that occupy them. The resulting patterns of biological communities are strongly influenced by human use and management activities. This becomes extreme when the landscape is fragmented by human use and consists mostly of agricultural or other nonnative cover with separated patches of native communities. Marinescapes are less subject to fragmentation effects, but their biological...

  6. V Conservation Biology
    (pp. 511-572)
    David S. Wilcove

    Given the rate at which humans are changing the biosphere—altering land cover and nutrient cycles, extirpating some species while spreading others around the globe, even changing the very climate of the planet—it is easy to understand why so many ecologists choose to focus their research on questions relevant to conservation. Indeed, a seemingly new discipline, conservation biology, replete with its own society and journal, arose in the late 1980s to capture the growing enthusiasm for research directed toward maintaining the earth’s biodiversity. But, as many authors have noted, the roots of conservation biology go back decades, even centuries....

  7. VI Ecosystem Services
    (pp. 573-678)
    Ann P. Kinzig

    Ecosystem services are defined as ‘‘the multiple benefits provided by ecosystems to humans’’ (The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). In other words, ecosystem services are only services to the extent that they support human well-being and are thus an inherently anthropocentric construct. Analysts cannot understand how the delivery of ecosystem services has changed over time solely from a purely natural science analysis of ecological patterns, processes, or functions. They must also understand what people value and how much they value it. Ecological dynamics could remain constant, but the services people derive from ecosystems could still change as people’s values or circumstances...

  8. VII Managing the Biosphere
    (pp. 679-760)
    Stephen R. Carpenter

    Human attempts to manage nature are at least as old as agriculture and possibly much older. By the time ecology was formalized as a science, applications and basic ecology were both on the agenda. Stephen Alfred Forbes (1844–1930), an influential American ecologist whose career spanned the origins and consolidation of ecology as a science, demonstrated the mix of practical and curiosity-driven science characteristic of the discipline. Forbes began his career as an economic entomologist, solving problems of pollination and pests that presage work on biological control reviewed by Murdoch in this volume (chapter VII.1). Then Forbes undertook studies of...