Contributions to Science, Vol 7, No 1 (2011)

Evolution the ecosystem level: On the evolution of ecosystem patterns

Simon A. Levin


As environmental problems like overpopulation, overfishing, pollution and acid rain commanded greater public attention, much focus shifted to biogeochemical linkages, and to holistic studies of whole ecosystems. Ramon Margalef recognized as forcefully as anyone the remarkable intellectual leverage one could gain by transferring the unique perspectives and advances from one field to another. In this article I discuss the nascent unification of population biology and ecosystemsscience. Sustainable management requires that we relate the macroscopic features of communities and ecosystems to the microscopic details of individuals and populations. I argue thatthe distinctions that have prevented this synthesis are artificial, and that we need to overcome them to build a science that allows us to deal with the loss of the benefits we derive from ecosystems.

Full Text: PDF

Creative Commons License

This work, unless the contrary is indicated in the text, the photographs or in other illustrations, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work provided that the author is credited and reuse of the material is restricted to non-commercial purposes only and that no derivative works are created from the original material.

ISSN: 2013-410X (electronic edition); 1575-6343 (print edition)