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Explorations in Ecospace

Explorations in Ecospace

Chapter:
(p.106) 6 Explorations in Ecospace
Source:
What Is Biodiversity?
Author(s):
Maclaurin JamesSterelny Kim
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226500829.003.0006

This chapter focuses on local ecological communities, and on whether local communities are structured, organized systems; that is, systems whose organization has important effects on the identity and abundance of the local biota. In analyzing the idea that communities are indeed structured systems, it considers the claim that communities control their own membership and the claim that they have biologically important collective properties. If these ideas are vindicated, we do need more than species information. We need information about organization and variation in that organization from community to community. In the chapter's “units-and-differences” framework, it asks whether local ecological communities are themselves units, and, if so, what are the relevant similarities and differences among them.

Keywords:   ecological communities, ecological systems, ecosystem, structured systems

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