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Resolving Ecosystem Complexity (MPB-47)


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix List of Tables xiii Preface xv Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Philosophical Musings 2 Explaining Contingency: A Worldview 4 Contingency and Emergence 5 Preparing the Mind for Discovery 7 Structure of the Book 8 Chapter 2: Conceptualizing Ecosystem Structure 10 Abstracting Complexity 11 Whole System vs. Building Blocks Approach 13 Defining Species Interaction Modules 15 Identifying Interaction Modules in a Grassland Ecosystem 16 Conception of Ecosystem Structure 20 Chapter 3: Trophic Dynamics: Why Is the World Green? 23 Trophic Control as an Emergent Property of Resource Limitation 24 Explaining Contingency in Trophic Control of Ecosystem Function 26 The Nature of Resource Limitation and Trophic Control of Food Chains 28 The Mechanism Switching Hypothesis of Trophic Control 32 Effects of Herbivore Feeding Mode 36 Collective Effects of Herbivore Species with Different Feeding Modes 38 Plant- Antiherbivore Defense and Strength of Trophic Control 39 Herbivore Resource Selection and Ecosystem Function 41 Stoichiometry and Herbivore Resource Use 42 Resource Selection and Ecosystem Function 43 Herbivore Indirect Effects and Engineering of Green Worlds 46 Herbivore- Mediated Carnivore Indirect Effects on Ecosystems 47 Carnivore Indirect Effects on Plant Diversity 47 Carnivore Indirect Effects on Ecosystem Function 50 Chapter 4: The Green World and the Brown Chain 55 Conceptualizing Functions along Detritus- Based Chains 56 Resource Limitation and Trophic Control 57 Trophic Control of Decomposition 59 Trophic Control of Mineralization 61 Mechanisms of Top- Down Control 62 Trophic Coupling between Detritus- Based and Plant- Based Chains 64 Chapter 5: The Evolutionary Ecology of Trophic Control in Ecosystems 68 Carnivore Species and the Nature of Trophic Interactions in an Old- Field System 69 Carnivore Hunting Mode and the Nature of Trophic Interactions 74 The Evolutionary Ecology of Trophic Cascades 86 Chapter 6: The Whole and the Parts 99 Developing Predictive Theory for Emergence 100 Contingency and Carnivore Diversity Effects on Ecosystems 101 Carnivore Diversity and Emergent Effects on Ecosystem Function 106 Shifting Down One Trophic Level: Intermediate Species Diversity and Ecosystem Function 110 Herbivore Diversity and Mediation of Top- Down Control of Ecosystem Function 112 Detritivore Diversity and Mediation of Top- Down Control of Ecosystem Function 117 The Basal Trophic Level: Plant Diversity and Ecosystem Function 118 Functional Classifications 119 Resource Identity Effects on Trophic Interactions 121 Moving Forward on Functional Diversity and Ecosystem Function 122 Chapter 7: The Ecological Theater and the Evolutionary Ecological Play 125 Phenotypic Variation and State- Dependent Trade- Offs 127 Attacked Plants Attract Predators 129 Predators That Avoid Predation 130 The Nonconsumptive Basis of Trophic Transfer Efficiencies 132 Trophic Interactions in a Changing Theater 133 Rapid Change in Hunting Strategy 135 Landscapes of Fear and Ecosystem Management 135 Closing Remarks 139 References 143 Index 167

Promotional Information

Resolving Ecosystem Complexity presents a modern synthesis of trophic structure and function that addresses some of the most fundamental questions raised by Darwin, Tansley, and Hutchinson. Through rigorous analysis of case studies and data, Schmitz brings to life the importance of direct and indirect interactions on the functioning of ecosystems. This clear and compelling book is a must-read for scientists and educators interested in integrative ecosystem analysis. -- Adrien Finzi, Boston University This ambitious and inspiring book is a valuable contribution to ecology. Highly synthetic, it melds an overall approach to science with summaries of detailed empirical and theoretical work. Resolving Ecosystem Complexity is remarkably well done and I learned a great deal from reading this important book. -- Anurag Agrawal, Cornell University This book focuses on the importance of multitrophic interactions in ecology. It illuminates significant points and helped me to think about complex ecosystems more clearly. -- Frederick R. Adler, University of Utah

About the Author

Oswald J. Schmitz is the Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2011 "Within the fast-growing landscape of ecological literature, this book emerges as a rare yet inspiring attempt to explain ecosystem complexity. Schmitz does this by introducing contingencies in nature and synthesizing up-to-date knowledge on species interactions, trophic structure, and ecosystem function and dynamics through stimulating questions, theoretical thinking, and empirical evidence... This is a model book in ecology, and should be used as a critical reference source for academics interested in ecological theory and recent developments in the field."--Choice "This book would be a great starting point for undergraduates considering careers in ecology and is a goldmine for graduate students looking for dissertation topics. But most importantly, this book reminds all of us that we can indeed understand the complexity of ecological systems."--Aaron M. Ellison, Ecology "Although they are strongly focused on the experimental side of ecology the range of topics covered in this book is large and coupled with at least initial experimental evidence, sometimes with fascinating hypothesis-generating extrapolations."--John H. Vandermeer, BioScience

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