This edited volume in the Theoretical Ecology series addresses the historical development and evolution of theoretical ideas in the field of ecology. Not only does it recount the history of the discipline by practitioners of the science of ecology, it includes commentary on these historical reflections by philosophers of science. Even though the theories discussed are, in many cases, are at the forefront of research, the language and approach make this material accessible to non-theoreticians. The book is structured in 5 major sections including population ecology, epidemiology, community ecology, evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology. In each section a chapter by an eminent, experienced ecologist is complemented by analysis from a newer, cutting-edge researcher.

Key Features

* Reflection on the past and future of ecology * A historical overview of major ideas in the field of ecology * Pairing of historical views by ecologists along with a philosophical commentary directed at the practicing scientists` views by a philosopher of science. * Historical analysis by practicing ecologists including anectodal experiences that are rarely recorded. * Based on a very popular symposium at the 2002 Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Tucson, AZ.


practicing ecologists, to philosophers of science, and to anyone interested in the history of ecology

Table of Contents

1. Why a History of Ecology: An Introduction Beatrix E. Beisner and Kim Cuddington Part I POPULATION ECOLOGY 2. Unstructured Models in Ecology: Past, Present and Future 3.Unstructured population models: Do population-level assumptions yield general theory? 4. The “Structure” of Population Ecology: Philosophical Reflections on Unstructured and Structured Models Part II EPIDEMIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY 5. The Law of Mass Action in Epidemiology: A Historical Perspective 6. Extensions to Mass Action Mixing 7. Mass Action and System Analysis of Infection Transmission Part III COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 8. Community Diversity and Stability: Changing Perspectives and Changing Definitions 9. Perspectives on Diversity, Structure and Stability 10. Diversity and Stability: Theories, Models and Data Part IV EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY 11. On the Integration of Community Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Historical Perspectives and Current Prospects 12. Modeling the ecological context of evolutionary change: déjà vu or something new? 13. The Elusive Synthesis Part V ECOSYSTEM ECOLOGY 14. The Loss of Narrative 15. Ecological Management: Control, Uncertainty and Understanding 16. Is Ecosystem Management a Postmodern Science? Kevin de Laplante Part VI CONCLUSION 17. Kuhnian Paradigms Lost: Embracing the pluralism of ecological theory


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© 2005
Academic Press
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About the author

Beatrix Beisner

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Quebec at Montreal, Department of Biological Sciences, Canada

About the editor

Kim Cuddington

Affiliations and Expertise

Ohio University, Department of Biological Sciences, Athens, U.S.A.


"Finally, here is a book taking ecology seriously enough also to investigate it from a philosophy of science point of view, and in particular taking a Kuhnian entrance point as also indicated by the exciting book and an interesting idea to view our science as Kuhn would have done...highly recommended." - Soren Nors Nielsen, Danmarks Farmaceutiske Universitet "Each section of Ecological Paradigms Lost certainly has something to offer the specialist." - Joseph Craine, Unviersity of Minnesota, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, in BIOSCIENCE "The editors of this volume commissioned papers by eminent ecologists, young and old, on theory development and cahnge in five subfields- population, epidemiological, community, evolutionary, and ecosystem ecology- and papers from philosophers of science commenting on the scientists' conclusions...a better perspective on ecology's past and, possibly, its future." - Thomas R. Dunlap, Texas A&M University, Department of History, in ECOLOGY