Explorations in Ecospace

Maclaurin James and Sterelny Kim

in What Is Biodiversity?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780226500805
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226500829 | DOI:
Explorations in Ecospace

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  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology


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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

Chapter.  10816 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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