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What Is Biodiversity?$
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James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226500805

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226500829.001.0001

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Explorations in Ecospace

Explorations in Ecospace

(p.106) 6 Explorations in Ecospace
What Is Biodiversity?

Maclaurin James

Sterelny Kim

University of Chicago Press

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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