Ecologists from the beginning of the subject have always been concerned with issues of control—allogenic or autogenic—at physiological, population, community, and ecosystem levels of organization. The subject permeates the discipline in many forms. There are no obvious discrete controllers in ecosystems, though there are concepts like "key industry organisms" and "keystone species" that are suggestive of such possibilities. In general, in view of the non-locality property, control in ecosystems would have to be considered as realized by dominantly indirect means. This is the postulate of distributed control, and as with indirectness itself it is clear this has origins in boundary openness (Patten and Auble, 1981; Fath, 2004; Schramski et al., 2006).
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