Scaling in Ecology: Building a Synthetic and Predictive Science for the Next 100 Years

Thursday, August 13, 2015: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
309, Baltimore Convention Center
Brian J. Enquist, University of Arizona
Charles A. Price, University of Western Australia
Brian J. Enquist, University of Arizona
Two of the most influential ecological publications have been the MacArthur papers by Simon Levin (The Problem of Pattern and Scale in Ecology) and J.H. Brown (The Metabolic Theory of Ecology). Indeed, it remains that the most central problem associated with ecology is how to scale ecological pattern and process. How do we connect pattern and process from genes to ecosystems? Ecology for the next 100 years will be the ecology of scaling up biological measures and theory to predict the effects of climate and land use change. Scaling theories attempt to provide a general, synthetic theory for the structure and function of plants and animals that integrates across scales from cells to ecosystems. Scaling is grounded in the premise that general rules emerge from a focus on on how biological and ecological processes change as a function of scale - how biological processes depend on body size, the role of area and time are all fundamentally scaling problems. Applications of metabolic scaling approaches have been used to predict individual-level biological rates (e.g. primary production) and states (i.e. nutrient content), and the consequences of such phenomena at lower and higher levels of biological organization. The scope scaling approaches continue to expand and now encompasses a large array of biological phenomena – from the dynamics of cellular organelles to global patterns in biodiversity – and subdisciplines, including plant physiology, community ecology, and ecosystem science. The last few decades have seen intense research interest and activity with scaling approaches and metabolic scaling. Much progress has been made in revising and extending scaling theory in light of extensive new empirical data. Ecologists working across a range of scales have brought new information to bear and exciting advances have been made on many fronts. This symposium brings together a collection of ecologists working at the forefront of attempts to utilize integrative and synthetic approaches to modeling ecological patterns and processes. Research areas range from the adaptive nature of traits and biological networks to the structure and dynamics of plant and animal communities, scale dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystems to the role of body size in structuring food webs, to processes driving the flux of materials and energy at ecosystem scales. While the range of physical scales and taxa spanned by this group is considerable, all recognize and incorporate the central roles of scaling to their research programs.
1:30 PM
 Sharks vs. seals: Metabolic power and diversity at sea
John M Grady, University of New Mexico,; James H. Brown, University of New Mexico; Kristin Kaschner, Albert-Ludwigs-University; Derek P. Tittensor, United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre / Microsoft Research Cambridge / Dalhousie University; Brian Alfaro, University of New Mexico,; Ara Kooser, University of New Mexico,
2:00 PM
 Temporal scaling of biodiversity: A missing component of building a predictive ecology
S.K. Morgan Ernest, University of Florida; Erica Christensen, Utah State University
2:30 PM
 On the scaling of biodiversity distribution, variability, and fluctuation
Pablo A. Marquet, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile; Matias Arim, Universidad de La República Facultad de Ciencias-CURE; Sebastian R Abades, Instituto de Ecologia y Biodiversida (IEB); Miguel A Fuentes, Instituto de Sistemas Complejos de Valparaiso; Fabio A Labra, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Santo Tomas; Andrew J. Rominger, University of California Berkeley; Rolando Rebolledo, P. Universidad Catolica de Chile
3:00 PM
3:10 PM
 Scaling ecological data to reveal emergent properties of ecosystems
Dennis Baldocchi, University of California, Berkeley; Jordi Vila-Guerau de Arellano, University of Wageningen
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