Chapter

Ways of Looking at Diversity

James Lazell

in Island

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243521
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931596 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243521.003.0001
Ways of Looking at Diversity

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Guana Island is far more varied than the theory (MacArthur and Wilson 1967) predicts and more varied than most ecosystems that were actually studied in the past. The vision of the living members of an ecosystem as projecting an encoded message—information—into the future is elegantly appealing and meticulously true. Each population of living organisms in every ecosystem may be thought of as having an evolutionary role—the part it plays in the ecosystem because of its characteristics and adaptations. If there are to be real successes in theoretical ecology, which is after all nothing less than humanity's rational effort to comprehend life on Earth, then those successes will probably emerge through the study of places like Guana Island. The field of ecology has gone through explosive growth since those days. Evolutionary role is both expressed in and controlled by the characteristics of the organisms in question.

Keywords: Guana Island; MacArthur; Wilson; humanity; ecology

Chapter.  16314 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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