In this first of three lectures on community ecology, Dr. Dan Simberloff presents an overview of community ecology and highlights some of the foundational theorists in the field. He offers a definition of the field, which focuses on understanding how many species live in a geographically defined community, and why particular species do or do not coexist in the same community. He provides examples of historical and contemporary empirical studies that have structured and contributed to Darwin’s theory of naturalization, Elton’s ideas about species ratios and diversity, and Gause’s competitive exclusion principle. He also highlights more recent theories of limiting similarity and priority effects and the temporal dimensions of changes in community composition.
Holt, R.D. 2013. Species coexistence. In: S. Levin (ed.), Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, pp. 667–678. Oxford: Elsevier.
Simberloff, D. 2004. Community ecology: Is it time to move on? The American Naturalist, 163(6), 787–799.
Daniel Simberloff is the Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Tennessee. He received his AB (1964) and PhD (1968) from Harvard University and was a faculty member at Florida State University from 1968 through 1997, when he joined the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. His publications number ca. 500 and center on ecology, biogeography, evolution, and conservation biology; much of his research focuses on causes and consequences of biological invasions. His research projects are on insects, plants, fungi, birds, and mammals. At the University of Tennessee he directs the Institute for Biological Invasions. In 2006 he was named Eminent Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America, in 2012 won the Margalef Prize for research in ecology, and in 2015 won the Wallace Prize of the International Biogeographical Society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.