About this book
This book addresses the question of what determines species richness in tropical animals by comparing and contrasting the communities of the five major classes of vertebrates in two environments considered to be the most species-rich on Planet Earth - the coral reef and the rainforest. All the contributors were asked to examine how so many species could coexist in such communities and to discuss the ways species assemblages might have evolved over time. Because the coauthors are ecologists, emphasis is quite naturally placed on the first of these two questions, and the factors contributing to the maintenance of a-diversity are discussed at length. However, the question of the very origin of species richness can never be eluded, though it is more an evolutionary problem than an ecological one; it has therefore also been given some attention occasionally. Since we believe that long-term descriptive data and extended field experience are absolutely essential to formulate meaningful questions and pro pose realistic models, contributors were selected on the basis of their prolonged field practice; all of them actually spent years in the field and/or participated in long-term research programs. The present volume has its origin in a symposium held on August 15, 1986 at Syra cuse, New York, during the Fourth International Congress of Ecology.
Mammalia bird ecosystem fauna fish forest mammals reptiles species diversity vertebrates