Ecology of Inland Waters and Estuaries

Ecology of Inland Waters and Estuaries

Ecology of Inland Waters and Estuaries

Ecology of Inland Waters and Estuaries

Excerpt

This book is intended as an introduction to the elemental factors and processes that operate in lakes, streams, and estuaries as dynamic systems. In seeking to fulfill this intention the aim is primarily two-fold. First, the book attempts to bring into summary some of the major aspects of the knowledge that has been amassed from the study of inland waters and estuaries by many investigators. Such a study, drawing as it does from geology, hydrology, physics, chemistry, and biology, is obviously vast and complex. In order to appreciate so broad a field it is necessary to view a considerable body of basic factual information.

Knowledge of basic facts in any science serves a further purpose in providing background for the understanding of important principles. Therefore, in its second aim, the book attempts to place related principles in proper perspective with respect to the given facts. The author has tried to emphasize principles without becoming enmeshed in a web of detailed information and terminology.

As is the case with most textbooks in aquatic ecology, this one is essentially derived from the teaching of college courses. Experience gained from student reaction and consultation with numerous teachers of the subject has led to the belief that the most logical approach to the study of natural communities is through early concern with the "elements" of the subject followed by consideration of these fundamentals as they pertain to principles. It is the author's belief that to understand the whole, one must have knowledge of the origin and nature of the parts. Such is the organization of this book. It develops from the particular to the general, while incorporating themes of fitness of the environment, energy traffic, and adaptations of organisms.

To the student taking his first taste of a subject of this nature, the approach used here logically brings the complex of interrelating factors into more real perspective. There is also reason to believe that the student feels more secure in his background when he reaches "limiting factors," "energy relationships," "community dynamics," and the like. For the person who may be more interested in species ecology than in community . . .

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