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Untangling Ecological Complexity: The Macroscopic Perspective


Untangling Ecological Complexity: The Macroscopic Perspective Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ecologists increasingly find themselves called upon to address the impacts of global change on biodiversity. Yet most studies of biodiversity focus solely on intensive, experimental analyses of localized ecological communities. In Untangling Ecological Complexity, Brian A. Maurer argues for a more pluralistic approach, showing how ecologists might enhance their ability to tackle global problems by incorporating broader spatial and temporal perspectives into their research.

Maurer begins by reviewing the strengths and limitations of reductionist experimental approaches. Although these studies have produced much valuable data, their small scale restricts the kinds of inferences that can be drawn from them. Maurer then demonstrates how statistical methods can be used to identify processes (such as dispersal or nonrandom extinction) that operate across broad geographic scales, yet which also have profound impacts on local ecosystems. This macroscopic perspective, Maurer suggests, provides a powerful tool for untangling ecological complexity.

Book News Annotation:

Rather than the typical narrow focus of experimental analyses of biotic communities, Maurer (zoology, Brigham Young U.) advocates a more pluralistic approach to global problems by expanding the spatial and temporal scale of community ecology (e.g. viewing the evolution of species diversity at the macroscale). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Includes bibliographical references (p. [217]-235) and index.

Table of Contents


Ch. 1: Of Entangled Banks and Humble Bees

Ch. 2: From Micro to Macro and Back Again

Ch. 3: Communities on Small Spatial and Temporal Scales

Ch. 4: Communities as Linear Systems

Ch. 5: Communities as Nonlinear Systems

Ch. 6: Macroecology: Expanding the Spatial Scale of Community Ecology

Ch. 7: Geographic Range Structure: Niches Written in Space

Ch. 8: Geographic Assembly of Local Communities

Ch. 9: The Evolution of Species Diversity at the Macroscale

Ch. 10: The Macroscopic Perspective and the Future of Ecology

Literature Cited


Product Details

Maurer, Brian A.
University of Chicago Press
Chicago, Ill. :
Biotic communities
Life Sciences - Ecology
Environmental Studies-General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
36 line drawings, 6 tables, 1 map
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Population Biology
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Ecology
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

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