In this third of three lectures on community ecology, Dr. Dan Simberloff builds a distinction between theories that derive from Darwin’s naturalization hypothesis, which characterizes communities based on composition and distribution and those based on theories about the relationships between diversity, complexity and stability. He starts with Elton’s work on food webs and subsequent empirical studies that test hypotheses about the relationship between complexity and stability. He then notes the contemporary shift toward thinking about diversity in terms of ecosystem function and the ecosystem services provided by functional traits. He highlights ideas about functional redundancy, complementarity, and facilitation, and identifies recent work that has conceptualized and modeled the relationships between species richness and functional diversity as a new aspect of community ecology.
Cadotte, M.W., Carscadden, K., and Mirotchnick, N. 2011. Beyond species: Functional diversity and the maintenance of ecological processes and services. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48(5), 1079–1087.
Simberloff, D. 2014. Biological invasions: What’s worth fighting and what can be won? Ecological Engineering, 65, 112–121.
Daniel Simberloff is the Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Tennessee. He received his AB (1964) and PhD (1968) from Harvard University and was a faculty member at Florida State University from 1968 through 1997, when he joined the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. His publications number ca. 500 and center on ecology, biogeography, evolution, and conservation biology; much of his research focuses on causes and consequences of biological invasions. His research projects are on insects, plants, fungi, birds, and mammals. At the University of Tennessee he directs the Institute for Biological Invasions. In 2006 he was named Eminent Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America, in 2012 won the Margalef Prize for research in ecology, and in 2015 won the Wallace Prize of the International Biogeographical Society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.