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Special Issue "Diversity Theories and Perspectives"

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A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2009)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Carlo Ricotta

Department of Environmental Biology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, P.zale A. Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
Fax: + 39 06 445 7540
Interests: community ecology; diversity indices; functional traits; landscape ecology; scaling; spatial ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is aimed at soliciting a collection of Forum papers discussing all aspects of ecological diversity from the author’s specific perspective: what is our today’s knowledge, what needs to be done, what are the most controversial points, etc.

All submitted papers are subject to ordinary peer-review, nonetheless the authors are encouraged to communicate their own ideas in an informal (though scholarly rigorous) colloquial style.

Dr. Carlo Ricotta
Guest Editor

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle From Points to Forecasts: Predicting Invasive Species Habitat Suitability in the Near Term
Diversity 2010, 2(5), 738-767; doi:10.3390/d2050738
Received: 23 March 2010 / Revised: 4 May 2010 / Accepted: 6 May 2010 / Published: 12 May 2010
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1160 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We used near-term climate scenarios for the continental United States, to model 12 invasive plants species. We created three potential habitat suitability models for each species using maximum entropy modeling: (1) current; (2) 2020; and (3) 2035. Area under the curve values [...] Read more.
We used near-term climate scenarios for the continental United States, to model 12 invasive plants species. We created three potential habitat suitability models for each species using maximum entropy modeling: (1) current; (2) 2020; and (3) 2035. Area under the curve values for the models ranged from 0.92 to 0.70, with 10 of the 12 being above 0.83 suggesting strong and predictable species-environment matching. Change in area between the current potential habitat and 2035 ranged from a potential habitat loss of about 217,000 km2, to a potential habitat gain of about 133,000 km2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Structure Alters the Shape of the Unimodal Species Richness-Biomass Relationship in a Neutral Model
Diversity 2010, 2(4), 550-560; doi:10.3390/d2040550
Received: 5 January 2010 / Revised: 30 March 2010 / Accepted: 1 April 2010 / Published: 6 April 2010
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Variation in individual density may explain the unimodal richness-biomass relationship in which species richness peaks at an intermediate level of total biomass. However, it is unclear how individual density is regulated by community thinning (i.e., mortality due to [...] Read more.
Variation in individual density may explain the unimodal richness-biomass relationship in which species richness peaks at an intermediate level of total biomass. However, it is unclear how individual density is regulated by community thinning (i.e., mortality due to competition with neighbors) as total above-ground biomass increases. We developed a simulation model which demonstrates that the spatial structure of a population can influence the initiation and rate of community thinning and thus the shape of the richness-biomass relationship. Specifically, we found that more clustered populations resulted in a more abrupt initiation and rapid rate of thinning and thus a sharper unimodal richness-biomass relationship. Our simulation also demonstrated that a wide diversity of richness-biomass relationships can be produced by community-thinning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Ecological Systems as Complex Systems: Challenges for an Emerging Science
Diversity 2010, 2(3), 395-410; doi:10.3390/d2030395
Received: 30 December 2009 / Revised: 1 March 2010 / Accepted: 8 March 2010 / Published: 15 March 2010
Cited by 33 | PDF Full-text (176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Complex systems science has contributed to our understanding of ecology in important areas such as food webs, patch dynamics and population fluctuations. This has been achieved through the use of simple measures that can capture the difference between order and disorder and [...] Read more.
Complex systems science has contributed to our understanding of ecology in important areas such as food webs, patch dynamics and population fluctuations. This has been achieved through the use of simple measures that can capture the difference between order and disorder and simple models with local interactions that can generate surprising behaviour at larger scales. However, close examination reveals that commonly applied definitions of complexity fail to accommodate some key features of ecological systems, a fact that will limit the contribution of complex systems science to ecology. We highlight these features of ecological complexity—such as diversity, cross-scale interactions, memory and environmental variability—that continue to challenge classical complex systems science. Further advances in these areas will be necessary before complex systems science can be widely applied to understand the dynamics of ecological systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Linking Diversity and Differentiation
Diversity 2010, 2(3), 370-394; doi:10.3390/d2030370
Received: 15 December 2009 / Accepted: 20 February 2010 / Published: 3 March 2010
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (194 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Generally speaking, the term differentiation refers to differences between collections for the distribution of specified traits of their members, while diversity deals with (effective) numbers of trait states (types). Counting numbers of types implies discrete traits such as alleles and genotypes in [...] Read more.
Generally speaking, the term differentiation refers to differences between collections for the distribution of specified traits of their members, while diversity deals with (effective) numbers of trait states (types). Counting numbers of types implies discrete traits such as alleles and genotypes in population genetics or species and taxa in ecology. Comparisons between the concepts of differentiation and diversity therefore primarily refer to discrete traits. Diversity is related to differentiation through the idea that the total diversity of a subdivided collection should be composed of the diversity within the subcollections and a complement called “diversity between subcollections”. The idea goes back to the perception that the mixing of differentiated collections increases diversity. Several existing concepts of “diversity between subcollections” are based on this idea. Among them, β-diversity and fixation (inadvertently called differentiation) are the most prominent in ecology and in population genetics, respectively. The pertaining measures are shown to quantify the effect of differentiation in terms of diversity components, though from a dual perspective: the classical perspective of differentiation between collections for their type compositions, and the reverse perspective of differentiation between types for their collection affiliations. A series of measures of diversity-oriented differentiation is presented that consider this dual perspective at two levels of diversity partitioning: the overall type or subcollection diversity and the joint type-subcollection diversity. It turns out that, in contrast with common notions, the measures of fixation (such as FST or GST ) refer to the perspective of type rather than subcollection differentiation. This unexpected observation strongly suggests that the popular interpretations of fixation measures must be reconsidered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle The Relation between Evenness and Diversity
Diversity 2010, 2(2), 207-232; doi:10.3390/d2020207
Received: 31 December 2009 / Accepted: 9 February 2010 / Published: 11 February 2010
Cited by 82 | PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Contrary to common belief, decomposition of diversity into independent richness and evenness components is mathematically impossible. However, richness can be decomposed into independent diversity and evenness or inequality components. The evenness or inequality component derived in this way is connected to most [...] Read more.
Contrary to common belief, decomposition of diversity into independent richness and evenness components is mathematically impossible. However, richness can be decomposed into independent diversity and evenness or inequality components. The evenness or inequality component derived in this way is connected to most of the common measures of evenness and inequality in ecology and economics. This perspective justifies the derivation of measures of relative evenness, which give the amount of evenness relative to the maximum and minimum possible for a given richness. Pielou’s [1] evenness measure J is shown to be such a measure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Diversity: A Philosophical Perspective
Diversity 2010, 2(1), 127-141; doi:10.3390/d2010127
Received: 30 December 2009 / Accepted: 18 January 2010 / Published: 26 January 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, diversity, whether it be ecological, biological, cultural, or linguistic diversity, has emerged as a major cultural value. This paper analyzes whether a single concept of diversity can underwrite discussions of diversity in different disciplines. More importantly, it analyzes the [...] Read more.
In recent years, diversity, whether it be ecological, biological, cultural, or linguistic diversity, has emerged as a major cultural value. This paper analyzes whether a single concept of diversity can underwrite discussions of diversity in different disciplines. More importantly, it analyzes the normative justification for the endorsement of diversity as a goal in all contexts. It concludes that no more than a relatively trivial concept of diversity as richness is common to all contexts. Moreover, there is no universal justification for the endorsement of diversity. Arguments to justify the protection of diversity must be tailored to individual contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
Open AccessCommunication The Study of Species in the Era of Biodiversity: A Tale of Stupidity
Diversity 2010, 2(1), 115-126; doi:10.3390/d2010115
Received: 16 December 2009 / Accepted: 19 January 2010 / Published: 22 January 2010
Cited by 55 | PDF Full-text (142 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research policies ensuing from the Convention on Biological Diversity made huge funds available to study biodiversity. These were mostly dedicated to projects aimed at providing services to taxonomy via information and technology, or to develop “modern”, i.e., molecular, approaches to taxonomy. Traditional [...] Read more.
Research policies ensuing from the Convention on Biological Diversity made huge funds available to study biodiversity. These were mostly dedicated to projects aimed at providing services to taxonomy via information and technology, or to develop “modern”, i.e., molecular, approaches to taxonomy. Traditional taxonomy was overly neglected and is in serious distress all over the world. It is argued that both novel and traditional ways to study biodiversity are essential and that the demise of traditional taxonomy (based on phenotypes) in the era of biodiversity is the result of an unwise policy, mainly fostered by portions of the scientific community that aim at taking total advantage of the funds dedicated to the study of biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity Theories and Perspectives)
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