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Research Questions in Ecology Relating to Community Ecology, Plant-Herbivore Interactions, and Insect Ecology in General

  • Peter W. Price
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 7)

Abstract

Major advances in community ecology could be made in the remainder of this decade by developing a strongly comparative approach. Some suggestions for emphasis include the following five questions: (1) What are the relative importances of the following types of interactions between organisms in natural systems: competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, amensalism, commensalism, and neutralism? Does relative importance differ in different kinds of organisms like bacteria, protozoa, annual and perennial plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, generalists, and specialists? (2) What are the organizing factors in communities? How do they differ between communities of different kinds of organisms? (3) How do members of the same food web interact directly and indirectly, particularly between trophic levels? (4) What roles do microorganisms play in natural systems, and what are their relative importances? (5) To what extent does the understanding of natural phenotypic and genotypic variation within and between populations contribute to our understanding of ecological systems?

The further development of ecology requires a more general application of a rigorous scientific method involving the clear definition of questions or hypotheses, testing among alternatives simultaneously, more extensive use of experiments, and the reporting of negative as well as positive results. Funding to encourage more teamwork involving several disciplines relevant to a particular question would be desirable.

Keywords

Trophic Level Interactive System Insect Herbivore Community Ecology Forest Insect 
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.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter W. Price
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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