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Understanding cooperation is a central challenge in biology, because natural selection should favor "free-loaders" that reap benefits without reciprocating. For interspecific cooperation (mutualism), most approaches to this paradox focus on costs and benefits of individual partners and the strategies mutualists use to associate with beneficial partners.(More)
The finding that regular spatial patterns can emerge in nature from local interactions between organisms has prompted a search for the ecological importance of these patterns. Theoretical models have predicted that patterning may have positive emergent effects on fundamental ecosystem functions, such as productivity. We provide empirical support for this(More)
Large mammalian herbivores (LMH) strongly influence plant communities, and these effects can propagate indirectly throughout food webs. Most existing large-scale manipulations of LMH presence/absence consist of a single exclusion treatment, and few are replicated across environmental gradients. Thus, important questions remain about the functional roles of(More)
Mutualisms are key components of biodiversity and ecosystem function, yet the forces maintaining them are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of removing large mammals on an ant-Acacia mutualism in an African savanna. Ten years of large-herbivore exclusion reduced the nectar and housing provided by plants to ants, increasing antagonistic behavior(More)
Because temperature affects the growth, development, and survival of embryos, oviparous mothers should discriminate carefully among available nesting sites. We combined a radiotelemetric study of animal movements with a spatial mapping of environmental temperatures to test predictions about the nesting behavior of the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus(More)
Despite conceptual recognition that indirect effects initiated by large herbivores are likely to have profound impacts on ecological community structure and function, the existing literature on indirect effects focuses largely on the role of predators. As a result, we know neither the frequency and extent of herbivore-initiated indirect effects nor the(More)
The oft-repeated claim that Earth's biota is entering a sixth "mass extinction" depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the "background" rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the(More)
Ecologists increasingly recognize the ability of certain species to influence ecological processes by engineering the physical environment, but efforts to develop a predictive understanding of this phenomenon are in their early stages. While many believe that the landscape-scale effects of ecosystem engineers will be to increase habitat diversity and(More)
  • Susan Clayton, Gene Myers, W W Norton, Co, O R W Pergams, P A Zaradic +1 other
  • 2010
Once, when I was about 12, I tried to argue with a guy who was handing out anti-environmentalist leaflets in an airport. He asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied that I wanted to be a herpetologist, and that if he got his way, there would be no animals left for me to study. He shrugged and said, 'Be a palaeontologist,' which I thought was(More)
Conservation should benefit ecosystems, nonhuman organisms, and current and future human beings. Nevertheless, tension among these goals engenders potential ethical conflicts: conservationists' true motivations may differ from the justifications they offer for their activities, and conservation projects have the potential to disempower and oppress people.(More)