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Evolution: The Missing Ingredient in Systems Ecology
Craig Loehle and Joseph H. K. Pechmann
The American Naturalist
Vol. 132, No. 6 (Dec., 1988), pp. 884-899
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2462267
Page Count: 16
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Ecosystems, Ecosystem models, Evolution, Ecological genetics, Ecological modeling, Species, Population ecology, Evolutionary theories, Natural selection, Ecology
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Although applying evolutionary theory to questions about ecosystem structure and function is not simple, it is essential. For example, certain hypotheses of ecosystem optimality seem to require the operation of group selection or coevolution at levels above the individual. Such assumptions should not go untested, and an examination of evolutionary mechanisms in an ecosystem context could lead to new insights. Explaining ecosystem properties that are clearly additive or collective in terms of classical individual selection may often be straightforward. Practical aspects of constructing ecosystem models, including hierarchy applications, stability analysis, and parameter estimation, are also amenable to input from evolutionary theory. The concept of an evolutionarily based strategy space for model parameters should prove particularly fruitful. Applying evolutionary theory should help establish greater credibility for systems ecology and facilitate unification of what should be a holistic science.
The American Naturalist © 1988 The University of Chicago Press