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HierarchyPerspectives for Ecological Complexity$
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T. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. Starr

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226489544

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.001.0001

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Functional and Structural Boundaries

Functional and Structural Boundaries

Chapter:
(p.165) Chapter Six Functional and Structural Boundaries
Source:
Hierarchy
Author(s):

T.F.H. Allen

Thomas B. Starr

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.003.0007

There is a distinction between spatial and temporal boundaries. Enzymes, with distinctly faster reaction rates separated living systems in a temporal domain before there were spatial cell membranes. Death is a matter of relative reaction rates. Surfaces slow communication in space in a large ratio of change in time to space,big changes in rates across small spaces. Meanwhile channels facilitate communication in a small ratio of time differences across a large space. Hierarchies manifest only near-decomposability, allowing weaker communication between upper level structures to occupy higher levels. Boundaries obscure the functioning of lower level processes, e.g. the IRS does not know if you did your taxes with pencil and paper or a computer. Life is radically reorganized by the placement of surfaces in endosymbiosis. Life is a complex of electrical chemical organization set in a defined spatial context. There are subtle boundaries involved.

Keywords:   communication channel, endosymbiosis, evolution, near-decomposability, spatial boundary, surface, temporal boundary

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