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The Evolutionary Strategies that Shape Ecosystems Paperback – April 30, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0470674826 ISBN-10: 0470674822 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470674822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470674826
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,289,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“In summary, The Evolutionary Strategies that Shape Ecosystemsis well-written and stimulating, and encourages its readers to think about how all the pieces of ecology might fit together, from the scale of an individual organism to entire ecosystems. It would make a valuable addition to the library of any scientist interested in ecological and evolutionary strategies.”  (Austral Ecology, 1 October 2013)

“Certainly I have found this a useful way to think about conservation Management.”  (British Ecological Society, 1 April 2013)

“The case studies range from microbes to animals, and even palaeontology is included in the mix, making the book a very comprehensive resource for those interested in eco-evolutionary dynamics.”  (Teaching Biology, 20 December 2012)

“I recommend this book to people interested in evolutionary and ecological strategies in ecosystems, to those who think about universal patterns in organism life history tactics and also to those who love the challenge of linking ecology and evolution.”  (Basic and Applied Ecology, 1 November 2012)

“A significant contribution to the field and a must read for ecologists.  Summing Up:  Highly recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates and above.”  (Choice, 1 October 2012)

From the Back Cover

In 1837 a young Charles Darwin took his notebook, wrote "I think", and then sketched a rudimentary, stick-like tree. Each branch of Darwin's tree of life told a story of survival and adaptation – adaptation of animals and plants not just to the environment but also to life with other living things. However, more than 150 years since Darwin published his singular idea of natural selection, the science of ecology has yet to account for how contrasting evolutionary outcomes affect the ability of organisms to coexist in communities and to regulate ecosystem functioning.

In this book Philip Grime and Simon Pierce explain how evidence from across the world is revealing that, beneath the wealth of apparently limitless and bewildering variation in detailed structure and functioning, the essential biology of all organisms is subject to the same set of basic interacting constraints on life-history and physiology. The inescapable resulting predicament during the evolution of every species is that, according to habitat, each must adopt a predictable compromise with regard to how they use the resources at their disposal in order to survive. The compromise involves the investment of resources in either the effort to acquire more resources, the tolerance of factors that reduce metabolic performance, or reproduction. This three-way trade-off is the irreducible core of the universal adaptive strategy theory which Grime and Pierce use to investigate how two environmental filters selecting, respectively, for convergence and divergence in organism function determine the identity of organisms in communities, and ultimately how different evolutionary strategies affect the functioning of ecosystems. This book reflects an historic phase in which evolutionary processes are finally moving centre stage in the effort to unify ecological theory, and animal, plant and microbial ecology have begun to find a common theoretical framework.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Meyer on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Don't be fooled by the triangle on the front cover; the book isn't a simple repeat of Grime's well-worn triangle theory, although it does add to it plenty with a whole chapter on life-history traits in animals and microbes. It's more about how evolution and ecology are related to one another, and how the evolution of species is affected by their ecology, and how this feeds back on itself. The book mainly deals with community assembly rules and the effects of species' traits on the timing and extent of things happening in the ecosystem. Recently Hubbell's unified neutral model of biodiversity has gotten a lot of attention, but Grime reaffirms that biodiversity has an evolutionary basis, and more importantly gets into the nuts and bolts of adaptation and how this relates to ecology. He even describes the neutral theory as "self-falsifying".

The reference list alone looks to be about a thousand references long, and the whole book can be seen as an in-depth and up to date review of eco-evolutionary dynamics. The species index ranges from everything from to Acrocanthosaurus to Zygiella spiders. I'd never realized how fossil evidence can reveal the ecological similarities between specific dinosaurs and modern animals, and how extinct animals relate to wider ecological theory. It pretty much blew me away how all the bits of the puzzle fit, and the panorama Grime paints with "a conceptual framework in which evolutionary and ecological processes can be reconciled and are viewed as part of a single natural creative phenomenon that extends above and below the level of species.". Awesome!

I was a little shocked by the price at first, but I had to get this book, and I'm glad I did (although perhaps I would have given half a star less because of the price, but there wasn't the choice).
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The Evolutionary Strategies that Shape Ecosystems
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