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ANTHROPOGENIC ENVIRONMENTS & NON-EQUILIBRIUM ECOLOGY Topics for this lecture: 1) Basic concepts of ecological dynamics & succession 2) Equilibrium vs. non-equilibrium paradigms 3) Anthropogenic environmental change: Ecological dynamics: basic concepts Ecological community: set of species (flora & fauna) inhabiting a given place Succession: change in community composition over time (e.g., following a disturbance) Ecological disturbance: major perturbation (in species composition, ecosystem function, etc.) Disturbance agents = fire, wind, volcanism, etc. (see below for more) Disturbances vary in magnitude and frequency Intermediate-level disturbance regime continually "resets" the succession cycle in small areas ("patches") This results in a shifting “patch mosaic” at the landscape scale Patch mosaic = set of habitat patches differing in species composition, age since disturbance, etc. Mosaics classified by patch size & degree of heterogeneity (“coarse-grained, fine-grained”) Ecological succession
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