This book celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of publication of one of the landmarks of the modern ecological thought: the “Homage to Santa Rosalia or why are there so many kinds of animals” by George Evelyn Hutchinson. Published in 1959 in the journal “The American Naturalist”, this article has been the engine which have moved most of the ecological research on biodiversity in the last half a century. Hutchinson starts his article by telling the legend of Santa Rosalia, a hermit who died in the second half of the XIII century and who spent the last years of her life in a cave nearby a pond. In this pond Hutchinson collected two species of aquatic insects and took the inspiration to explore the reasons why life is present on our Planet in such amazing variety of forms. This article thus inaugurated the season of research on biodiversity. Researchers and students in the field of ecology are the readers to whom this book is mainly addressed but also those involved in the history of Science will find in this book useful information. Issued in 2010, which has been declared “international Year of Biodiversity” by the United Nations, this book is also a tribute to the biological diversity allowing, enriching and sustaining human life.
Table of Contents
Foreword.- The influence of “Homage to Santa Rosalia” on aquatic ecology: a scientometric approach.- Linking traits to species diversity and community structure in phytoplankton.- Drivers of phytoplankton diversity in Lake Tanganyika.- Rarity, ecological memory, rate of floral change in phytoplankton—and the mystery of the Red Cock.- Diversity and community biomass depend on dispersal and disturbance in microalgal communities.- Influence of nutrients, submerged macrophytes and zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton biomass and diversity along a latitudinal gradient in Europe.- Why are there so many kinds of planktonic consumers? The answer lies in the allometric diet breadth.- Absence of predation eliminates coexistence: experience from the fish–zooplankton interface.- On non-Eltonian methods of hunting Cladocera, or impacts of the introduction of planktivorous fish on zooplankton composition and clear-water phase occurrence in a Mediterranean reservoir.- Out of Alaska: morphological diversity within the genus Eurytemora from its ancestral Alaskan range (Crustacea, Copepoda).- Does lake age affect zooplankton diversity in Mediterranean lakes and reservoirs? A case study from southern Italy.- Homage to Hutchinson: does inter-annual climate variability affect zooplankton density and diversity?.- Homage to the Virgin of Ecology, or why an aquatic insect unadapted to desiccation may maintain populations in very small, temporary Mediterranean streams.- Winning the biodiversity arms race among freshwater gastropods: competition and coexistence through shell variability and predator avoidance.- Stygobiotic crustacean species richness: a question of numbers, a matter of scale.- Santa Rosalia, the icon of biodiversity.