Chapter

Incorporating Biological Complexities

Jonathan M. Chase and Mathew A. Leibold

in Ecological Niches

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780226101798
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226101811 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226101811.003.0005
Incorporating Biological Complexities

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This chapter discusses four types of biological complexity: resource utilization (how interacting species differentially use distinct resource types); behavioral plasticity (variation in a species' behavioral traits in response to environmental, including biotic, conditions); resource allocation plasticity (variation in a species' morphological or physiological traits in response to environmental, including biotic, conditions); and demographic structure (variation in stage, size, and other factors that change with age in a species). It concludes that although there are many different types of biological realisms that characterize natural systems, many of the generalities derived from simpler models can still hold. Further, when complexities do change the nature of the interaction, they do not do so in a fundamentally unpredictable way.

Keywords: biological complexity; resource utilization; behavioral plasticity; resource allocation plasticity; demographic structure

Chapter.  6965 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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