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Marine Macroecology$
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Jon D. Witman and Kaustuv Roy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226904115

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226904146.001.0001

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Plankton Populations and Communities

Plankton Populations and Communities

(p.29) Chapter Two Plankton Populations and Communities
Marine Macroecology

William K. W. Li

University of Chicago Press

Patterns in ecology are not easily discerned. Some, such as the allometric scaling of abundance to body size, are clearly evident in the marine plankton. Others are not so obvious, but seem to emerge as boundary constraints when a large number of possibilities are considered. Shifts in the relative importance of bottom-up and top-down control, multiple resource competition, niche complementarity, and intermediate disturbance are examples indicating that biological processes in the pelagos share many characteristics with those elsewhere. Plankton communities are peculiarly shaped by the turbulent hydrodynamic environment, but the causal mechanisms underlying patterns of abundance, distribution, and diversity are general. It is useful to view the plankton, especially the microbial forms, as members at the low end of the space and time ranges in the ocean. In this way, it may be possible to assimilate plankton patterns into the commonalities of life.

Keywords:   microbial, plankton, diversity, macroecology, phytoplankton

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