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Trends Ecol Evol. 1995 Sep;10(9):361-6.

Rethinking complexity: modelling spatiotemporal dynamics in ecology.

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  • 1Jordi Bascompte is at the Dept d'Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


In the past few years, part of theoretical ecology has focused on the spatiotemporal dynamics generated by simple ecological models. To a large extent, the results obtained have changed our view of complexity. Specifically, simple rules are able to produce complex spatiotemporal patterns. Consequently, some of the complexity underlying nature does not necessarily have complex causes. The emerging framework has far-reaching implications in ecology and evolution. This is improving our understanding of topics such as the problem of scales, the response to habitat fragmentation, the relationship between chaos and extinction, and how high diversity levels are supported in nature.

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