Community Ecology

Gary G. Mittelbach

Community Ecology is a book for graduate students, researchers, and advanced undergraduates seeking a broad, up-to-date coverage of ecological concepts at the community level. Community ecology has undergone a transformation in recent years, from a discipline largely focused on processes occurring within a local area to a discipline encompassing a much richer domain of study, including the linkages between communities separated in space (metacommunity dynamics), niche and neutral theory, the interplay between ecology and evolution (eco-evolutionary dynamics), and the influence of historical and regional processes in shaping patterns of biodiversity. To fully understand these new developments, however, students need a strong foundation in the study of species interactions and how these interactions are assembled into food webs and other ecological networks. Both 'new' and 'traditional' aspects of community ecology are covered in the book's five sections: * The Big Picture: Patterns, Causes, and Consequences of Biodiversity * The Nitty-Gritty: Species Interactions in Simple Modules * Putting the Pieces Together: Food Webs and Ecological Networks * Spatial Ecology: Metapopulations and Metacommunities * Species in Changing Environments: Ecology and Evolution Applied aspects of community ecology (e.g. resource harvesting, invasive species, community restoration) are treated throughout the book as natural extensions of basic theoretical and empirical work. Theoretical concepts are developed using simple equations, and there is an emphasis on the graphical presentation of ideas. Each chapter concludes with a summary.


1 Community Ecology's Roots
PART I.THE BIG PICTURE: Patterns, Causes, and Consequences of Biodiversity
2 Patterns of Biological Diversity
3 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
PART II. THE NITTY-GRITTY: Species Interactions in Simple Modules
4 Population Growth and Density Dependence
5 The Fundamentals of Predator-Prey Interactions
6 Selective Predators and Responsive Prey
7 Interspecific Competition: Simple Theory
8 Competition in Nature: Empirical Patterns and Tests of Theory
9 Beneficial Interactions in Communities: Mutualism and Facilitation
PART III. PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER: Food Webs and Ecological Networks
10 Species Interactions in Ecological Networks
11 Food Chains and Food Webs: Controlling Factors and Cascading Effects
PART IV. SPATIAL ECOLOGY: Metapopulations and Metacommunities
12 Patchy Environments, Metapopulations, and Fugitive Species
13 Metacommunities and the Neutral Theory
14 Species Coexistence in Variable Environments
15 Evolutionary Community Ecology
16 Some Concluding Remarks and a Look Ahead


Gary G. Mittelbach is Professor at the Kellogg Biological Station and the Department of Integrative Biology at Michigan State University. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Iowa (1974) and earned his Ph.D. at Michigan State University (1980) working under Dr. Earl Werner. Dr. Mittelbach is recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher by ISIRG and is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. His research interests include community ecology, biogeography, aquatic ecology, biodiversity, and species interactions.