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The metacommunity concept is an important way to think about linkages between different spatial scales in ecology. Here we review current understanding about this concept. We first investigate issues related to its definition as a set of local communities that are linked by dispersal of multiple potentially interacting species. We then identify four(More)
Understanding how landscape characteristics affect biodiversity patterns and ecological processes at local and landscape scales is critical for mitigating effects of global environmental change. In this review, we use knowledge gained from human-modified landscapes to suggest eight hypotheses, which we hope will encourage more systematic research on the(More)
Current unprecedented declines in biodiversity reduce the ability of ecological communities to provide many fundamental ecosystem services. Here we evaluate evidence that reduced biodiversity affects the transmission of infectious diseases of humans, other animals and plants. In principle, loss of biodiversity could either increase or decrease disease(More)
The diversity of life is ultimately generated by evolution, and much attention has focused on the rapid evolution of ecological traits. Yet, the tendency for many ecological traits to instead remain similar over time [niche conservatism (NC)] has many consequences for the fundamental patterns and processes studied in ecology and conservation biology. Here,(More)
Species invasions provide numerous unplanned and frequently, but imperfectly, replicated experiments that can be used to better understand the natural world. Classic studies by Darwin, Grinnell, Elton and others on these species-invasion experiments provided invaluable insights for ecology and evolutionary biology. Recent studies of invasions have resulted(More)
Until recently, large apex consumers were ubiquitous across the globe and had been for millions of years. The loss of these animals may be humankind's most pervasive influence on nature. Although such losses are widely viewed as an ethical and aesthetic problem, recent research reveals extensive cascading effects of their disappearance in marine,(More)
Predator control programmes are generally implemented in an attempt to increase prey population sizes. However, predator removal could prove harmful to prey populations that are regulated primarily by parasitic infections rather than by predation. We develop models for microparasitic and macroparasitic infection that specify the conditions where predator(More)
Secondary succession reflects, at least in part, community assembly—the sequences of colonizations and extinctions. These processes in turn are expected to be sensitive to the size of the site undergoing assembly and its location relative to source pools. In this paper we describe patterns of succession over 18 years in an experimentally fragmented(More)
Many pathogens and parasites attack multiple host species, so their ability to invade a host community can depend on host community composition. We present a graphical isocline framework for studying disease establishment in systems with two host species, based on treating host species as resources. The isocline approach provides a natural generalization to(More)
We conducted an analysis of global forest cover to reveal that 70% of remaining forest is within 1 km of the forest's edge, subject to the degrading effects of fragmentation. A synthesis of fragmentation experiments spanning multiple biomes and scales, five continents, and 35 years demonstrates that habitat fragmentation reduces biodiversity by 13 to 75%(More)