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Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Apr;21(4):178-85. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Rebuilding community ecology from functional traits.

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  • 1Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1B1. mail@brianmcgill.org

Abstract

There is considerable debate about whether community ecology will ever produce general principles. We suggest here that this can be achieved but that community ecology has lost its way by focusing on pairwise species interactions independent of the environment. We assert that community ecology should return to an emphasis on four themes that are tied together by a two-step process: how the fundamental niche is governed by functional traits within the context of abiotic environmental gradients; and how the interaction between traits and fundamental niches maps onto the realized niche in the context of a biotic interaction milieu. We suggest this approach can create a more quantitative and predictive science that can more readily address issues of global change.

PMID:
16701083
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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