Ecology and Evolution of Communities

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Overview

In recent times, the science of ecology has been rejuvenated and has moved to a central position in biology. This volume contains eighteen original, major contributions by leaders in the field, all associates of the late Robert MacArthur, whose work has stimulated many of the recent developments in ecology. The intellectual ferment of the field is reflected in these papers, which offer new models for ecological processes, new applications of theoretical and quantitative techniques, and new methods for analyzing and interpreting a wide variety of empirical data.

The first five chapters explore the evolution of species abundance and diversity (R. Levins, E. Leigh, J. MacArthur, R. May, and M. Rosenzweig). The theory of loop analysis is newly applied to understanding stability of species communities under both mendelian and group selection. Species abundance relations, population fluctuations, and continental patterns of species diversity are illustrated and interpreted theoretically. The next section examines the competitive strategies of optimal resource allocation variously employed in plant life histories (W. Schaffer and M. Gadgil), bird diets and foraging techniques (H. Hespenheide), butterfly seasonal flights (A. Shapiro), and forest succession examined by the theory of Markov processes (H. Horn).

The seven chapters of the third section study the structure of species communities, by comparing different natural communities in similar habitats (M. Cody, J. Karr and F. James, E. Pianka, J. Brown, J. Diamond), or by manipulating field situations experimentally (R. Patrick, J. Connell). The analyses are of communities of species as diverse as freshwater stream organisms, desert lizards and rodents, birds, invertebrates, and plants. These studies yield insights into the assembly of continental and insular communities, convergent evolution of morphology and of ecological structure, and the relative roles of predation, competition, and harsh physical conditions in limiting species ranges.

Finally, the two remaining chapters illustrate how ecological advances depend on interaction of theory with field and laboratory observations (G. E. Hutchinson), and how ecological studies such as those of this volume may find practical application to conservation problems posed by man's accelerating modification of the natural world (E. Wilson and E. Willis).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674224469
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1979
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles. His books include Guns, Germs, and Steel.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Martin L. Cody and Jared M. Diamond

Bibliography of Robert MacArthur

I. The Evolution of Species Abundance and Diversity

1. Evolution in Communities Near Equilibrium

Richard Levins

2. Population Fluctuations, Community Stability, and Environmental Variability

Egbert G. Leigh, Jr.

3. Environmental Fluctuations and Species Diversity

John W. MacArthur

4. Patterns of Species Abundance and Diversity

Robert M. May

5. On Continental Steady States of Species Diversity

Michael L. Rosenzweig

II. Competitive Strategies of Resource Allocation

6. Selection for Optimal Life Histories in Plants

William M. Schaffer and Madhav D. Gadgil

7. Prey Characteristics and Predator Niche Width

Henry A. Hespenheide

8. The Temporal Component of Butterfly Species Diversity

Arthur M. Shapiro

9. Markovian Processes of Forest Succession

Henry S. Horn

III. Community Structure

10. Towards a Theory of Continental Species Diversities

Martin L. Cody

11. Ecomorphological Configurations and Convergent Evolution

James R. Karr and Frances C. James

12. Niche Relations of Desert Lizards

Eric R. Pianka

13. Geographical Ecology of Desert Rodents

James H. Brown

14. Assembly of Species Communities,

Jared M. Diamond

15. Structure of Stream Communities

Ruth Patrick

16. Some Mechanisms Producing Structure in Natural Communities

Joseph H. Connell

IV. Outlook

17. Variations on a Theme by Robert MacArthur

G. Evelyn Hutchinson

18. Applied Biogeography

Edward 0. Wilson and Edwin 0. Willis

Index

Contributors

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