Fundamental Processes in Ecology presents a way to study ecosystems that is not yet available in ecology textbooks but is resonant with current thinking in the emerging fields of geobiology and Earth System Science. It provides an alternative, process-based classification of ecology and proposes a truly planetary view of ecological science. To achieve this, it asks (and endeavours to answer) the question, ""what are the fundamental ecological processes which would be found on anyplanet with Earth-like, carbon based, life?""The author demonstrates how the idea of fundamental ecological processe
Contents; Preface; Part I. Introduction; 1. Introducing the thought experiment; 1.1. The entangled bank; 1.2. The entity approach; 1.3. A process-based approach; 1.4. Gaian effect; 1.5. Overview; Part II. The fundamental processes; 2. Energy flow; 2.1. The second law of thermodynamics; 2.2. Schrödinger, entropy, and free energy; 2.3. Sources of free energy; 2.4. Maximum entropy production and planetary ecology; 2.5. Overview; 3. Multiple guilds; 3.1. The importance of waste; 3.2. The requirement for multiple guilds; 3.3. Parasites and predators 3.4. Parasites introduce a potentially important mechanism for density-dependent regulation3.5. Other effects of parasites; 3.6. Overview; 4. Tradeoffs and biodiversity; 4.1. The problem of biodiversity; 4.2. Tradeoffs illustrated by human sporting performance; 4.3. Tradeoffs in ecology; 4.4. Tradeoffs and biodiversity; 4.5. The Gaian effect of biodiversity; 4.6. Overview; 5. Ecological hypercycles-covering a planet with life; 5.1. Darwin's earth worms; 5.2. Hypercycles in ecology; 5.3. Covering a planet with life; 5.4. Why would persistent restricted ecologies be unlikely? 5.5. The end of life on a planet5.6. Overview; 6. Merging of organismal and ecological physiology; 6.1. From beavers to planetary ecology; 6.2. Daisyworld; 6.3. Examples of the role of life in planetary physiology on Earth; 6.4. The importance of biomass, an illustration from the Earth's past; 6.5. Biomass and Gaia; 6.6. Overview; 7. Photosynthesis; 7.1. Quantification and mysticism in the seventeenth century; 7.2. The diversity of photosynthesis on Earth; 7.3. Photosynthesis and the Earth System; 7.4. Oxygen and the Earth System; 7.5. Is photosynthesis a fundamental process?; 7.6. Overview 8. Carbon sequestration8.1. Carbon sequestration and landscape change in northwest England; 8.2. A tale of two cycles: the short- and long-term carbon cycles; 8.3. The role of life: from geochemical cycles to biogeochemical cycles; 8.4. The co-evolution of plants and CO[sub(2)] on Earth; 8.5. Oxygen and carbon sequestration on Earth; 8.6. Humans and carbon sequestration; 8.7. Carbon sequestration as a fundamental process; 8.8. Overview; Part III. Emerging systems; 9. Nutrient cycling as an emergent property; 9.1. The paradox of the Goldfish; 9.2. Tradeoffs and in vitro evolution 9.3. The emergence of biogeochemical cycles9.4. Cycling ratios and biotic plunder; 9.5. Overview; 10. Historical contingency and the development of planetary ecosystems; 10.1. Carus and the thunder bolt: chance and change in history; 10.2. Historical contingency and ecology; 10.3. Historical contingency and the Earth System; 10.4. Overview; 11. From processes to systems; 11.1. An Earth Systems approach to ecology; 11.2. Cybernetics, regulation, and Gaia; 11.3. Rotten apples: a conceptual model of the evolution of Gaia; 11.4. Conservation biology and the Earth System; 11.5. Concluding remarks Glossary
Description based upon print version of record. Includes bibliographical references (p. -171) and index. Description based on print version record.