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Network Orientors: Steps Toward a Cosmography of Ecosystems: Orientors for Directional Development, Self-Organization, and Autoevolution

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Abstract

A preliminary cosmography of ecosystems is developed consisting of 20 properties. Ecosystems are networks (P1), hierarchically organized (P2), of interacting agents; their abiotic agents respond to physical stimuli, whereas their biota make models and respond to these. Ecosystems are collections of their agents’ environments (P3) superimposed on a large-number web (P4) of complex and intricate (P5) pathways. These pathways partition the constituent environments (P6), and involve both direct and indirect linkages (P7). The latter cause equalization of flows (network homogenization, P8) and amplification of inputs (network amplification, P9). Ecosystems, as dissipative structures, tend to increase their distance from thermodynamic ground (P10). Agents in ecosystems are quantitatively dominated by indirect interactions (P11). Ecosystem networks transform direct interactions into qualitatively different indirect interaction types (P12). Because of dominant indirect effects (P11, P12), determination in ecosystems is predominantly holistic (P13). This holism enables ecosystems to provide positive utility to their constituent biota beyond that obtained in direct interactions, which may be positive, neutral, or negative (network synergism, P14). Ecosystems are model-making complex adaptive systems (P15) which perpetually create and proliferate new niches for life (P16). They are also inheritance systems, containing both (internal) genotypes and (external) envirotypes associated with their constituent phenotypes (P17). Ecosystems are cybernetic systems with nondiscrete, distributed control (P18), under which they coevolve (P19). Finally, ecosystems are fundamental units for expansion of the “inner space” of reality (P20). These properties are presented as directional tendencies, that is, as developmental, organizational, and evolutionary “orientors.”

Keywords

  • Terminal Node
  • Network Organization
  • Niche Construction
  • Complex Adaptive System
  • Goal Function

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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Patten, B.C. (1998). Network Orientors: Steps Toward a Cosmography of Ecosystems: Orientors for Directional Development, Self-Organization, and Autoevolution. In: Müller, F., Leupelt, M. (eds) Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-58769-6_9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-58769-6_9

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-63720-9

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