Temporal and Spatial Variability as Neglected Ecosystem Properties: Lessons Learned From 12 North American Ecosystems
Evaluating and monitoring the “health” of large-scale systems will require new and innovative approaches. One such approach is to look for ecological signals in the structure of ecological variability observed in space and time. Such variability is sometimes considered something to minimize by clever sampling design, but may in itself contain interesting ecological information (Kratz et al. 1991). In fact, much of ecology can be considered an attempt to understand the patterns of spatial and temporal variability that occur in nature and the processes that lead to these patterns. Despite widespread interest in patterns of variation there have been relatively few attempts to describe comprehensively the temporal and spatial variation exhibited by ecological parameters. As a result, we have no general laws that allow us to predict die relative magnitude of temporal and spatial variability of different types of parameters across the full diversity of ecological systems. Even within single ecosystems, understanding of the interplay between temporal and spatial variability is lacking. For example, Lewis (1978) noted that despite a large literature, the relation between temporal and spatial variability in plankton distribution within a lake is not well understood. Matthews (1990) makes a similar point regarding fish communities in streams.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Allen T.F.H., Starr T.B. (1982) Hierarchy: Perspectives from Ecological Complexity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago 310 pp.Google Scholar
- Frost T. M., Carpenter S. R., Kratz T. K. (1992). Choosing ecological indicators: effects of taxonomic aggregation on sensitivity to stress and natural variability. In McKenzie D. H., Hyatt D. E., McDonald V. J. (eds.) Ecological Indicators (volume 1), Elsevier Applied Science Publishers, Essex, England pp:215–227Google Scholar
- Magnuson J.J., Kratz T.K., Frost T.M., Benson B.J., Nero R., Bowser C.J. (1991) Expanding the temporal and spatial scales of ecological research and comparison of divergent ecosystems: roles for LTER in the United States. In Risser P. G. (ed.) Long-term Ecological Research. Wiley & Sons pp:45–70Google Scholar
- O’Neill R.V., DeAngelis D.L., Waide J.B., Allen. T.F.H. (1986) A Hierarchical Concept of Ecosystems. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
- Persson L., Andersson G., Hamrin S.F, Johansson L. (1988) Predator regulation and primary production along the productivity gradient of temperate lake ecosystems. In Carpenter S.R. (ed.) Complex Interactions in Lake Communities. Springer-Verlag, NY. pp:45–65Google Scholar
- Rothschild B. J., DiNardo G. T. (1987) Comparison of recruitment variability and life history data among marine and anadromous fishes. American Fisheries Society Symposium 1: 531–546Google Scholar
- Sokal R.R., Rohlf F.J. (1981) Biometry. Seconded. Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
- Van Cleve K., Martin S. (1991) Long-term ecological research in the United States. LTER Publication No. 11., Long-Term Ecological Research Network Office, University of Washington, Seattle, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Wootton R. J. (1990) Ecology of teleost fishes. Chapman and Hall, New York, xii + 404 pp.Google Scholar