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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)
The transmission of infectious diseases is an inherently ecological process involving interactions among at least two, and often many, species. Not surprisingly, then, the species diversity of ecological communities can potentially affect the prevalence of infectious diseases. Although a number of studies have now identified effects of diversity on 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)
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)
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)
Predation can be intense, creating strong direct and indirect effects throughout food webs. In addition, ecologists increasingly recognize that fluxes of organisms across ecosystem boundaries can have major consequences for community dynamics. Species with complex life histories often shift habitats during their life cycles and provide potent conduits(More)