Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities

Hans Henrik Bruun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Assembly and dynamics in multispecies communities have long attracted the interest of ecologists. Yet, the subject has been studied from two separate paradigmatic angles. One line of thinking has focussed on local communities and competitive exclusion in situations when species’ niches overlap too much (limiting similarity), and on mechanisms that could prevent competitive exclusion and thus ensure coexistence of species at equilibrium (first and foremost niche differentiation). The other line of thinking has focussed on a regional (mainland) impact on the assembly of local communities (islands), while assuming no interactions among species and effectively no differences between them in terms of traits either. Robert MacArthur was extremely influential in the development of both paradigms during the sixties and seventies of the former century, an apparent schizophrenia that was later called ‘MacArthur’s paradox’ by Thomas Schoener. Now, in the edited volume Metacommunities, a group of ecologists has as set the laudable goal to reconcile these two apparently non-overlapping perspectives and formulate a new general theory for community ecology at a hierarchy of scales. The book makes a tiger leap forward in developing a truly unified community ecology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-564
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Plant Ecology and Systematics (Closed 2011) (011004000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


  • book review
  • metacommunities


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