Early theoretical modeling in ecology generally focused on a single scale of organization, and on a single time scale, as in Volterra’s focus on the fisheries of the Adriatic. There were exceptions of course as in work in population genetics and ecology alike on movement of organisms and species, but most of this approach did not have much influence on community ecology.
A.S Watt’s 1947 Presidential Address to the British Ecological Society set out a framework for new unification of population and community ecology, and work in the 1970s and 1980s on patch dynamics, on mosaic patterns in forested ecosystems, and on the problem of scale in marine and terrestrial systems alike created a new realization of the important role of patch dynamics, and of viewing systems simultaneously on multiple scales of space, time and organization. With increased computational power, agent-based models also became more of a tool. This lecture will trace the development, andconsider current and future directions and potential.