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Convergent EvolutionLimited Forms Most Beautiful$
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George McGhee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016421

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016421.001.0001

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Convergent Ecosystems

Convergent Ecosystems

(p.134) (p.135) 4 Convergent Ecosystems
Convergent Evolution

George R. McGhee

The MIT Press

This chapter concentrates on the convergent evolution of entire ecosystems, and specifically reviews the convergent evolution of carnivorous plants (plants that eat animals) and herbivorous plants (plants that eat other plants). It illustrates that the number of ecological roles or niches available for Earth organisms is demonstrably limited, and discusses the ecological level of communities and ecosystems, which are assemblages of multiple ecological roles. The chapter also mentions that the phenomenon of ecosystem convergence supports the idea that there may be “universal constraints on the ecological roles” played in those ecosystems.

Keywords:   convergent evolution, entire ecosystems, carnivorous plants, herbivorous plants, Earth organisms, ecosystem convergence, niches

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