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Part E - Community Structure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2009

Régis Ferrière
Affiliation:
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Ulf Dieckmann
Affiliation:
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria
Denis Couvet
Affiliation:
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
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Summary

Introduction to Part E

“No man is an island”, and no species of conservation interest exists in isolation from others. Ecosystems define the ecological theater, not only for any evolutionary play, but also for unfolding tales of population decline or rescue. This book therefore ends with a part on the community-level aspects of evolutionary conservation biology. In this way, we establish several additional perspectives to our general question on the ecological, demographic, and genetic conditions that enable or hinder populations to overcome extinction threats through adaptation.

On the ecological side, many density-dependent and frequency-dependent selection pressures emerge from interspecific interactions. It is the dependence of focal populations on the abundance of their resources, preys, predators, mutualistic partners, and competitors that creates complex webs of fitness effects and thus determines the strength and direction of natural selection. An interesting level on which to express such dependences is the flow of nutrients through ecological systems. Measures of nutrient cycling not only serve as indicators of ecosystem functioning, but also provide a convenient platform for resolving the interaction between organisms and their environment and for characterizing the implications of anthropogenic change.

On the demographic side, density regulation in communities is often nonlinear and can result in the coexistence of multiple demographic attractors. Anthropogenic change can, temporarily or permanently, tilt the established balance between regulating forces, and so lead to shifts of or even switches between demographic equilibria.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Community Structure
  • Edited by Régis Ferrière, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, Ulf Dieckmann, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, Denis Couvet, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
  • Book: Evolutionary Conservation Biology
  • Online publication: 15 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542022.021
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  • Community Structure
  • Edited by Régis Ferrière, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, Ulf Dieckmann, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, Denis Couvet, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
  • Book: Evolutionary Conservation Biology
  • Online publication: 15 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542022.021
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Community Structure
  • Edited by Régis Ferrière, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, Ulf Dieckmann, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, Denis Couvet, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
  • Book: Evolutionary Conservation Biology
  • Online publication: 15 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542022.021
Available formats
×