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The EnvironmentPhilosophy, Science, and Ethics$
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William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017404

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017404.001.0001

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What If Ecological Communities Are Not Wholes?

What If Ecological Communities Are Not Wholes?

(p.37) 3 What If Ecological Communities Are Not Wholes?
The Environment

Rachel Bryant

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on the assumption that ecological communities are wholes and on explaining its importance to a community. This assumption posits that communities are closed networks of interacting populations. According to it, ecological interactions among populations and among individual organisms arrange themselves into “groups of species that at least weakly interact with one another and not others at a time and through time” or what Odenbaugh refers to as “Hutchinsonian Communities.” It is important to discuss this assumption because there is a possibility that the boundaries of “ecological communities” are not fixed by robust discontinuities in ecological interactions. This chapter focuses on addressing the question “What is the relationship between diversity and stability?”.

Keywords:   ecological communities, closed networks, interacting populations, ecological interactions, Odenbaugh, Hutchinsonian Communities, diversity, stability

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