Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems / Edition 4

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Begon, Townsend, and Harper's Ecology has long been regarded as the definitive textbook on all aspects of ecology. This new edition provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject, from the first principles of ecology to the current state of the field, and aims to improve students' preparedness to address the environmental problems of the new millennium.

Thoroughly revised and updated, this fourth edition includes:

  • three new chapters on applied ecology, reflecting a rigorous, scientific approach to the ecological problems now facing mankind
  • discussion of over 800 new studies, updating the text throughout
  • an updated, user-friendly design with margin notes and chapter summaries that serve as study aids
  • dedicated website at

The resulting textbook is easy to use, lucid and up-to-date, and is the essential reference for all students whose degree program includes ecology and for practicing ecologists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Begon, Townsend and Harper has been the standard advancedtextbook in ecology for nearly 20 years. I greatly welcome thisfourth edition, which maintains the book’s position at theforefront of the discipline.”
Professor Sir John Lawton, Chairman, Royal Commission onEnvironmental Pollution, and formerly Chief Executive of the UKNatural Environment Research Council

"Now in its fourth edition, this text will continue to berecognized as a forerunner in the science of ecology; it is verycomprehensive, exploring ecological concepts with relevant fieldand laboratory studies, enriched by clear examples andillustrations."
Journal of Biological Education

“With remarkable clarity and insight, these gifted authorslay the evolutionary foundation of the discipline and then buildthe superstructure of Ecology, layer by layer. This is a completereworking of the earlier version, a lucid synthesis sprinkled withclear examples. My colleagues and I have used this text to teachecology for more than 20 years, and not surprisingly it has beenrecognized as the leading text in the field; this new versionguarantees it will remain in pole position for many years tocome.”
Peter Hudson, Pennsylvania State University

“Begon, Townsend and Harper’s Ecology has been thecornerstone text for teaching ecology for almost two decades. Itscomprehensive breadth and depth provides details on ecologicalconcepts supplemented with relevant field and laboratory studies.Ecology will remain an essential text for students and practionersalike for many years to come.”
Michael Bonsall, Oxford University

Ecology: From Individual, to Ecosystems isunparalleled among ecology texts for its breadth of coverage ofcontemporary ecology and for its clear presentation of even themore complex topics. The coverage of population ecology is superb,and the presentation of all topics is enriched both by extremelyclear illustrations and a rich use of examples of humanrelationships with the environment. It should be read by allaspiring ecologists and the professors who teach them.”
Marcel Holyoak, University of California, Davis

"...Overall, this text has continued to earn its dominance inthe market...For those for whom Essentials is too basic thisis the text to read at the next level. It's comprehensive coverageand wide range of examples make it an essential purchase forbasic/advanced ecology education."
TENews, September 2005

Review of the previous edition

“arguably the best general textbook in ecology currentlyon the market”
Animal Ecology 1999

“This monumental book is obligatory reading for allecologists. It has an engaging style, is user-friendly and is afount of information and scientific rigour. It will take populationbiology, broadly defined, comfortably into the nextcentury.”
Journal of Ecology 1997

“The language and structure of this textbook is quitecomprehensive, making it the ideal book for undergraduates makingtheir first steps in ecology.”
Journal of Animal Ecology 1997

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405111171
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 752
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.42 (h) x 1.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in London in 1951 and a student at the University of Leeds,Mike Begon has spent his whole scientific career at theUniversity of Liverpool, where he is now Professor of Ecology,specializing in the population and community ecology of infectiousdiseases in wildlife.

Colin Townsend obtained his DPhil at the University ofSussex before taking up teaching positions at Oxford University andthe University of East Anglia. In 1989 he moved from the UK to NewZealand to the University of Otago where he was chair of theZoology Department, and is now Director of the Ecology,Conservation and Biodiversity Research Group. He was elected to theFellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1997.

John Harper is an award-winning biologist and a leadingfigure in plant population biology. He has served as a councilmember of the fellowship of the Royal Society and received theDarwin Award in 1990. He is also the author of PopulationBiology of Plants and co-author of Essentials ofEcology.

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Table of Contents




1. Organisms in their environments: the evolutionarybackdrop.

2. Conditions.

3. Resources.

4. Life, death and life histories.

5. Intraspecific competition.

6. Dispersal, dormancy and metapopulations.

7. Ecological applications at the level of organisms andsingle-species populations Part 2. SPECIES INTERACTIONS.

8. Interspecific competition.

9. The nature of predation.

10. The population dynamics of predation.

11. Decomposers and detritivores.

12. Parasitism and disease.

13. Symbiosis and mutualism.

14. Abundance.

15. Ecological applications at the level of populationinteractions Part 3. COMMUNITIES AND ECOSYSTEMS .

16. The nature of the community.

17. The flux of energy through ecosystems.

18. The flux of matter through ecosystems.

19. The influence of population interactions on communitystructure.

20. Food webs.

21. Patterns in species richness.

22. Ecological applications at the level of communities andecosystems.


Organism Index.

Subject Index

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