Tropical Ecosystems and Ecological Concepts

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-26
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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Tropical habitats cover over one third of the Earth's terrestrial surface and harbor much of its biodiversity, with many areas rich in endemic species. However, these ecosystems are under significant and growing threat from issues such as deforestation, land degradation and ocean acidification. This introductory textbook provides a comprehensive guide to the major tropical biomes. It is unique in its balanced coverage of both aquatic and terrestrial systems and in its international scope. Each chapter is built around a particular tropical ecosystem, with descriptive case studies providing a framework around which ecological concepts and applied ecological topics are presented. This second edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect recent advances in the field and includes a greater focus on the impact of global climate change. The text is supported throughout by boxes containing supplementary material and is illustrated with over 200 clear, simple line diagrams, maps and photographs.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Abbreviations and unitsp. xiii
The tropical environment and climatep. 1
The tropicsp. 2
Tropical and temperate environmentsp. 3
Tropical climatesp. 4
Global climate changep. 12
Biogeographical regionsp. 18
Summaryp. 24
Dry, hot deserts and environmental factorsp. 26
Tropical desertsp. 27
The Sahara Desert and arid zones of northern Africap. 27
The Namib Desertp. 31
Australian desertsp. 35
Environmental factorsp. 39
Water"p. 39
Limiting factors and Liebig's lawp. 42
Temperaturep. 45
Salinityp. 46
Soils and nutrientsp. 47
Environmental factors and plant and animal distributionsp. 51
Desertification or land degradation?p. 55
Summaryp. 56
Grasslands and primary productionp. 59
Grass structure and biologyp. 60
Neotropical grasslandsp. 61
Light as an energy sourcep. 64
Carbon dioxide uptake by plantsp. 65
Photosynthesisp. 66
Photorespirationp. 67
Photosynthetic strategiesp. 67
Respirationp. 70
Environmental factors and photosynthesisp. 70
Primary productionp. 73
Assessment of grassland primary productionp. 74
Effects of rainfall, grazing and fire on grass growthp. 75
Primary production rates in terrestrial biomesp. 78
Summaryp. 79
Savanna and population dynamicsp. 81
Fire and savanna vegetationp. 82
Savannas of the worldp. 82
The Serengetip. 87
Savanna plants and heterogeneityp. 89
Animal population dynamics in the Serengetip. 91
Herbivores and herbivoryp. 93
Principles of population growthp. 96
Factors determining population densityp. 101
Density-dependent mortality factorsp. 104
Competition theory and the competitive exclusion principlep. 109
Predationp. 111
Density-independent mortality factorsp. 121
Reproductive strategies and population growthp. 121
Population age structure and life tablesp. 125
Key factor analysisp. 132
Conservation of African wildlifep. 132
Ecosystem dynamics and ecological modelsp. 135
Summaryp. 139
Lakes, energy flow and biogeochemical cyclingp. 142
Thermal stratificationp. 143
Pelagic zone productionp. 161
Littoral zone producers and primary productionp. 166
The catchment area conceptp. 168
Aquatic consumersp. 170
The biota of tropical and temperate lakes: a comparisonp. 172
Food chains and energy flowp. 174
Food chain energeticsp. 175
Trophic levelsp. 176
Limited length of food chainsp. 178
Food chain efficienciesp. 181
Food web dynamics and trophic cascadesp. 182
Biogeochemical cyclesp. 184
Quantitative aspects of nutrient supply and cyclingp. 190
Eutrophicationp. 193
Aquatic resource managementp. 199
Summaryp. 201
Rivers, floodplains and estuaries: the river continuum and flood-pulse conceptsp. 204
Nile Riverp. 205
Purari Riverp. 211
Amazon Riverp. 216
Ecological conceptsp. 226
Estuariesp. 235
Summaryp. 239
Sudd-communities of Lake Naivashap. 243
Rooted emergent swamps of Lake Chilwap. 244
Freshwater herbaceous wetlands: structure and functionp. 245
Swamp forestsp. 249
Wetland successionp. 251
Ecological successionp. 253
Community development and assemblyp. 254
Wetland loss and conservationp. 255
Summaryp. 257
Tropical rain forests and biodiversityp. 259
How many species exist?p. 260
Biogeography of rainforestsp. 260
Vegetation structure of tropical rain forestsp. 267
Phenology and reproduction of tropical forest treesp. 270
Life-form concept of plantsp. 273
Rain-forest animalsp. 273
Convergent evolutionp. 276
Plant-animal interactionsp. 277
Co-evolutionp. 281
Productivity and nutrient cycling in forestsp. 281
Micro-climates and resource acquisitionp. 283
Biological diversityp. 285
Why are rain forests so diverse?p. 288
Latitudinal gradients and species diversityp. 289
Gap theoryp. 293
Processes maintaining local diversityp. 296
Tropical deciduous forests and ecotonesp. 300
Low-diversity tropical rain forestsp. 300
Deforestationp. 301
Rain-forest conservation and restorationp. 304
Biodiversity conservationp. 309 Summary
Mountains, zonation and community gradientsp. 315
Environmental factors and altitudep. 316
Zonation on tropical mountainsp. 316
Vegetation zonation on Mount Wilhelm, Papua New Guineap. 317
Zonation in the Andesp. 322
Plant and animal ecophysiology: examples from Mount Kenyap. 325
Mountain zonationp. 330
Variation in plant and animal communitiesp. 330
Summaryp. 332
Mangroves, seagrasses and decompositionp. 334
Mangrove biogeographyp. 335
Mangroves of New Guineap. 337
Ecological adaptations of mangrovesp. 339
Mangrove animalsp. 342
Mangrove productivityp. 345
Seagrassesp. 346
Coastal vegetation and organic matter exportp. 347
Decompositionp. 349
Decomposition rates and environmental factorsp. 352
Detritus food chainsp. 353
Decomposition in other tropical systemsp. 353
Coastal zone managementp. 354
Summaryp. 355
Coral reefs and community ecologyp. 358
Coral reef communitiesp. 359
Coral biologyp. 361
Coral reefsp. 369
Coral reef algaep. 371
Coral reef animalsp. 372
Coral reef biogeography and biodiversityp. 375
Community ecologyp. 380
Coral reef communities and phase shiftsp. 385
Coral reef management and conservationp. 386
Summaryp. 393
Islands, archipelagos, biogeography and evolutionary ecologyp. 395
Krakataup. 396
Dispersalp. 397
Colonisation and community assemblyp. 401
Island biogeographyp. 402
Natural selection and evolutionp. 410
The Galapagos Archipelagop. 411
Speciationp. 414
The Hawaiian Archipelagop. 420
Extinctionp. 421
Exotic species on islandsp. 422
Community ecology and evolutionp. 423
Summaryp. 425
Cities and human ecologyp. 427
Tropical citiesp. 428
Evolution of human societiesp. 429
World population growthp. 431
Food productionp. 435
Industrialisation, natural resource use and pollutionp. 444
Human population growth: consequences and solutionsp. 446
Sustainable developmentp. 449
Conclusionsp. 450
Summaryp. 450
Glossaryp. 452
Referencesp. 471
Indexp. 501
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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