Discontinuities, cross-scale patterns, and the organization of ecosystems

Nash, Kirsty L., Allen, Craig R., Angeler, David G., Barichievy, Chris, Eason, Tarsha, Garmestani, Ahjond S., Graham, Nicholas A.J., Granholm, Dean, Knutson, Melinda, Nelson, R. John, Nyström, Magnus, Stow, Craig A., and Sundstrom, Shana M. (2014) Discontinuities, cross-scale patterns, and the organization of ecosystems. Ecology, 95 (3). pp. 654-667.

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Abstract

Ecological structures and processes occur at specific spatiotemporal scales, and interactions that occur across multiple scales mediate scale-specific (e.g., individual, community, local, or regional) responses to disturbance. Despite the importance of scale, explicitly incorporating a multi-scale perspective into research and management actions remains a challenge. The discontinuity hypothesis provides a fertile avenue for addressing this problem by linking measureable proxies to inherent scales of structure within ecosystems. Here we outline the conceptual framework underlying discontinuities and review the evidence supporting the discontinuity hypothesis in ecological systems. Next we explore the utility of this approach for understanding cross-scale patterns and the organization of ecosystems by describing recent advances for examining nonlinear responses to disturbance and phenomena such as extinctions, invasions, and resilience. To stimulate new research, we present methods for performing discontinuity analysis, detail outstanding knowledge gaps, and discuss potential approaches for addressing these gaps.

Item ID: 33150
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-9170
Keywords: body mass, competition, discontinuity hypothesis, extinction, function, hierarchy theory, invasion, multiple-scale analysis, nonlinear responses, regime shift, resilience
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:43
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 10%
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