Contents

Preface ix

1. Introduction: A New Ecology is Needed 1

1.1 Environmental management has changed 1

1.2 Ecology is changing 2

1.3 Book outline 3

2. Ecosystems have Openness (Thermodynamic) 7

2.1 Why must ecosystems be open? 7

2.2 An isolated system would die (maximum entropy) 8

2.3 Physical openness 13

2.4 The second law of thermodynamics interpreted for open systems 18

2.5 Dissipative structure 20

2.6 Quantification of openness and allometric principles 22

2.7 The cell 30

2.8 What about the environment? 31

2.9 Conclusion 32

3. Ecosystems have Ontic Openness 35

3.1 Introduction 35

3.2 Why is ontic openness so obscure? 36

3.3 Ontic openness and the physical world 39

3.4 Ontic openness and relative stability 49

3.5 The macroscopic openness: Connections to thermodynamics 50

3.6 Ontic openness and emergence 53

3.7 Ontic openness and hierarchies 55

3.8 Consequences of ontic openness: a tentative conclusion 56

4. Ecosystems have Directionality 59

4.1 Since the beginnings of ecology 59

4.2 The challenge from thermodynamics 60

4.3 Deconstructing directionality? 62

4.4 Agencies imparting directionality 63

4.5 Origins of evolutionary drive 66

4.6 Quantifying directionality in ecosystems 68

4.7 Demystifying Darwin 74

4.8 Directionality in evolution? 76

4.9 Summary 77

5. Ecosystems have Connectivity 79

5.1 Introduction 79

5.2 Ecosystems as networks 80

5.3 Food webs 82

5.4 Systems analysis 84

5.5 Ecosystem connectivity and ecological network analysis 86

5.6 Network environ analysis primer 86

5.7 Summary of the major insights cardinal hypotheses (CH)

from network environ analysis 92

5.8 Conclusions 101

6. Ecosystems have Complex Dynamics (Growth and Development) 103

6.1 Variability in life conditions 103

6.2 Ecosystem development 105

6.3 Orientors and succession theories 112

6.4 The maximum power principle 115

6.5 Exergy, ascendency, gradients, and ecosystem development 120

6.6 Support for the presented hypotheses 125

6.7 Toward a consistent ecosystem theory 133

6.8 Exergy balances for the utilization of solar radiation 139

6.9 Summary and conclusions 141

7. Ecosystems have Complex Dynamics - Disturbance and Decay 143

7.1 The normality of disturbance 143

7.2 The risk of orientor optimization 151

7.3 The characteristics of disturbance 152

7.4 Adaptability as a key function of ecosystem dynamics 156

7.5 Adaptive cycles on multiple scales 160

7.6 A case study: Human disturbance and retrogressive dynamics 164

7.7 Summary and conclusions 166

8. Ecosystem Principles have Broad Explanatory Power in Ecology 167

8.1 Introduction 167

8.2 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Evolutionary theory 168

8.3 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Island biogeography 176

8.4 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Latitudinal gradients in biodiversity 180

8.5 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Optimal foraging theory 184

8.6 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Niche theory 187

8.7 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Liebig's law of the minimum 191

8.8 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: The river continuum concept (RCC) 194

8.9 Do ecological principles encompass other proposed ecological theories?: Hysteresis in nature 196

8.10 Conclusions 198

9. Ecosystem Principles have Applications 199

9.1 Introduction 199

9.2 Entropy production as an indicator of ecosystem trophic state 200

9.3 The use of ecological network analysis (ENA) for the simulation of the interaction of the american black bear and its environment 206

9.4 Applications of network analysis and ascendency to South Florida ecosystems 210

9.5 The application of eco-exergy as ecological indicator for assessment of ecosystem health 218

9.6 Emergy as ecological indicator to assess ecosystem health 221

9.7 The eco-exergy to empower ratio and the efficiency of ecosystems 228

9.8 Application of eco-exergy and ascendency as ecological indicator to the Mondego Estuary (Portugal) 231

9.9 Conclusions 241

10. Conclusions and Final Remarks 243

10.1 Are basic ecological properties needed to explain our observations? 243

10.2 Previous attempts to present an ecosystem theory 243

10.3 Recapitulation of the ecosystem theory 245

10.4 Are there basic ecosystem principles? 246

10.5 Conclusion 248

References 251

Index

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