Biodiversity Dynamics: Turnover of Populations, Taxa, and Communities

Biodiversity Dynamics: Turnover of Populations, Taxa, and Communities

Biodiversity Dynamics: Turnover of Populations, Taxa, and Communities

Biodiversity Dynamics: Turnover of Populations, Taxa, and Communities

Excerpt

Ecologists must take a more active role in investigating the processes of species production and extinction.

—RICKLEFS AND SCHLUTER 1993B

The biodiversity crisis has had at least one positive outcome: It has forced biologists from many disciplines to interact and exchange data, which generally improves our overall understanding of ecology and evolution. Biodiversity dynamics refers to the turnover of biological units across all temporal and spatial scales (chapter 1). Like most of the recent literature on biodiversity, this book represents a synthesis and distillation of data derived from a variety of disparate fields that have traditionally had little interaction. In this case, data from population biology are presented with data from community ecology, comparative biology, and paleontology. Major theoretical and practical gains can be made from such a synthetic view.

This book has its roots in a symposium jointly sponsored by the Ecological Society of America and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, at their 1994 national meeting. Many of the book contributors gave papers at that symposium. However, as the scope and goal of the book became clearer, other contributors were invited to submit papers to help satisfy gaps or defi ciencies. In many ways, this book can be seen as an extension of the recent books by James Brown (1995) and Michael Rosenzweig (1995), which seek to extrapolate ecological dynamics to large scales of time and space.

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