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New book explores the evolution of a key scientific idea
Date:9/20/2011

For those seeking to understand and manage ecosystems, a key idea has resonated for more than two decades: spatial variation is essential for ecological sustainability over time. Now a new book examines the impact of that revelation.

It's been more than 20 years since H. Ronald Pulliam, former president of the Ecological Society of America and Regents Professor Emeritus of Ecology at the University of Georgia, published a now classic paper "Sources, Sinks, and Population Regulation." In it, he argued that animal and plant populations can be thought of as consisting of sub-populations inhabiting "good" (source) habitat patches and "bad" (sink) habitat patches. Pulliam also put forth that habitats should not be viewed in isolation from other habitats because organisms move among various habitats.

Now, two scientists at Michigan State University and two others assemble a cast of scientists to weigh in on the impacts of Pulliam's paper over the years. The task was not easy, considering that the paper has been cited over 1,600 times in the scientific literature and has inspired numerous advances in ecological theory and methods, conservation and management practice, and many other disciplines such as economics, human health, ecosystem services, biodiversity, climate change, mathematics, law, medicine, and international relations.

The book "Sources, Sinks and Sustainability" (Cambridge University Press, 544 pages) has been released in the United States and Great Britain. It's edited by Jianguo "Jack" Liu and Vanessa Hull at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at MSU, where Liu is director and Hull is a PhD student.

Anita Morzillo, an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University; and John Wiens, chief conservation science officer at PRBO Conservation Science, also are editors. The book incorporates contributions from 53 authors and more than 70 reviewers fr
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Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-432-0206
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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