Simple Facts About Life and the Environment Not to Forget in Preparing Schoolbooks for Our Grandchildren

  • Ramon Margalef
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 7)


Ecology is becoming a very sophisticated science, at least in print. Complicated models of ecosystems are proposed; they may be helpful for interpolation, but their extrapolation rarely leads to accurate predictions. Usually the system is driven by inputs from outside that cannot be predicted from inside. We need to develop a whole spectrum of models of different scales and then to explore the regularities in the behavior of the whole set. Theoretical ecology, in its attempt to isolate relations and phenomena and to formulate testable hypotheses, offers an easy target for criticism; certain mathematical developments are highly unrealistic, perhaps justifying a factitious rule of thumb that any expression in ecological theory more than four inches long is false.


Eutrophic Lake Simple Fact External Energy Factitious Rule Ecological Segregation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Canny, M.J. 1981. A universe comes into being when a space is severed: Some properties of boundaries in open systems. Proc. Ecol. Soc. Aust. 11: 1–11.Google Scholar
  2. Clements, F.E. 1916. Plant succession. Carnegie Inst., Washington, DC USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Di Casti, J. 1979. Connectivity, complexity, and catastrophe in large-scale systems. Wiley, Chichester, England.Google Scholar
  4. Drury, W.H., and J.C.T. Nisbet. 1973. Succession. J. Arnold Arbor. 54: 331–368.Google Scholar
  5. Glansdorff, P., and I. Prigogine. 1971. Thermodynamics theory of structure, stability and fluctuations. Wiley, New York, NY USA.Google Scholar
  6. Hastenrath, S., and P.J. Lamb. 1978. Heat budget atlas of the tropical Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans. Univ. Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI USA.Google Scholar
  7. Kimura, M. 1968. Evolutionary rate at the molecular level. Nature 217: 624.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mandelbrot, B. 1977. Fractals, form, chance and dimension. Freeman, San Francisco, CA USA.Google Scholar
  9. Margalef, R. 1974. Ecologia. Omega, Barcelona, Spain.Google Scholar
  10. Margalef, R. 1978. Life-forms of photoplankton as survival alternatives in an unstable environment. Oceanol. Acta 1: 493–510.Google Scholar
  11. Margalef, R. 1980. La biosfera entra la termodinâmica y el juego. Omega, Barcelona, Spain.Google Scholar
  12. Margalef, R. 1981. Asimetrias introducidas por la operación de la energia externa en secuencias de sedimentos y de poblaciones. Acta Geol. Hisp. 16: 35–38.Google Scholar
  13. Margalef, R. 1982. Instabilities in ecology. Pages 295–306 in J. Casas-Vâzquez and G. Lebon, eds. Stability of thermodynamic systems. Springer, Berlin, W. Germany.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Margalef, R., and M. Estrada. 1981. On upwelling, eutrophic lakes, the primitive biosphere, and biological membranes. Coastal upwelling. Pages 522–529 in Coastal and estuarine sciences, I. Am. Geophys. Union, Washington, DC USA.Google Scholar
  15. Margalef, R., and E. Gutiérrez. 1983. How to introduce connectance in the frame of an expression for diversity. Am. Nat. 121: 601–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Matsuno, K. 1978. Evolution of dissipative systems: A theoretical basis of Margalef’s principle on ecosystems. J. Theor. Biol. 70: 23–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. May, R.M. 1972. Will a large complex system be stable? Nature 238: 413–414.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maynard Smith, J. 1982. Evolution and the theory of games. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, England.Google Scholar
  19. Odum, E.P. 1969. The strategy of ecosystem development. Science 164: 262–270.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Odum, H.T. 1971. Environment, power, and society. Wiley Intersci., New York, NY USA.Google Scholar
  21. Pimm, S.L. 1982. Food webs. Chapman and Hall, London, England.Google Scholar
  22. Platt, T., K.H. Mann, and R.E. Ulanowicz. 1981. Mathematical models in biological oceanography. UNESCO Press, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  23. Riley, G.A., H. Stommel, and D.F. Bumpus. 1949. Quantitative ecology of the plankton of the Western North Atlantic. Bull. Bingham Oceanogr. Collect. 12: 1–169.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramon Margalef
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EcologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations