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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—Not So Paradoxical After All

Plankton—Not So Paradoxical After All

(p.195) Chapter Seven Plankton—Not So Paradoxical After All
Marine Macroecology

Sean Nee

Graham Stone

University of Chicago Press

The paradox of the plankton is an apparently massive violation of the principle of competitive exclusion, or the “one species, one niche” requirement for coexistence. It is quite extraordinary, the extent to which this world view of homogenous water with little opportunity for niche diversification has been completely overturned by the discoveries of recent years, so it is appropriate to return for another look at the paradox of the plankton. In addition to the existence of many new discoveries, another reason to revisit the paradox is the current interest in the neutral theory of biodiversity, since such a theory was presented as a resolution of the paradox many years ago. The neutral theory of biodiversity was originally proposed as a candidate explanation of tropical tree diversity. The enormous tree diversity in the tropical forests seems to present a similar puzzle to the ecologist, as do the plankton.

Keywords:   plankton, ocean metabolism, biodiversity, molecular evolution

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