Comparative ecology as a tool for integrating across scales.
Shipley, Bill*,1, Vile, Denis1, 2, 1 Département de biologie, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada2 Centre d'Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive, Montpellier, France
ABSTRACT- Ecosystem ecology is concerned with phenomena such as productivity, rates of decomposition, nutrient cycling and energy flow. Community ecology is concerned with phenomena such as competition intensity, succession, distributions of relative abundance of species, species diversity and species distributions along environmental gradients. Evolutionary ecology is concerned with phenomena such as fitness variation across environments and life history tradeoffs. In order to integrate across these conceptual scales, we need tools that can be applied to all of these scales. Since plants interact with their environment (including other organisms) through their morphological and physiological traits, and these traits can be compared across environments and in different species, comparative ecology can serve to bridge these different types of ecology. I will present examples of such integration that bring together the subsequent talks in this symposium and then concentrate on how plant traits can be used to model changes in community composition during secondary succession.
Key words: comparative ecology, plant ecophysiology, functional ecology
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