Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems

1st Edition

By Ehud Meron

CRC Press

359 pages

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Nonlinear Physics of Ecosystems introduces the concepts and tools of pattern formation theory and demonstrates their utility in ecological research using problems from spatial ecology. Written in language understandable to both physicists and ecologists in most parts, the book reveals the mechanisms of pattern formation and pattern dynamics. It also explores the implications of these mechanisms in important ecological problems.

The first part of the book gives an overview of pattern formation and spatial ecology, showing how these disparate research fields are strongly related to one another. The next part presents an advanced account of pattern formation theory. The final part describes applications of pattern formation theory to ecological problems, including self-organized vegetation patchiness, desertification, and biodiversity in changing environments.

Focusing on the emerging interface between spatial ecology and pattern formation, this book shows how pattern formation methods address a variety of ecological problems using water-limited ecosystems as a case study. Readers with basic knowledge of linear algebra and ordinary differential equations will develop a general understanding of pattern formation theory while more advanced readers who are familiar with partial differential equations will appreciate the descriptions of analytical tools used to study pattern formation and dynamics.

Table of Contents

Introduction. OVERVIEW: Spatial Self-Organization. Spatial Ecology. Modeling Ecosystems. PATTERN FORMATION THEORY: Pattern Formation Analysis: Basic Methods. Pattern Formation Analysis: Advanced Methods. Basic Mechanisms of Pattern Formation. External Modulations of Pattern Forming Systems. APPLICATIONS TO ECOLOGY: Modeling Water-Limited Vegetation. Vegetation Pattern Formation. Regime Shifts and Desertification. Species Coexistence and Diversity in Plant Communities. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author

Ehud Meron is a professor of physics in the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Physics Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation theory with applications to fluid dynamics and chemical reactions, modeling complex systems, and spatial ecology with a focus on desertification and biodiversity dynamics. Professor Meron’s recent work has involved collaborating with ecologists in an effort to assimilate the concepts of pattern-formation theory into ecological research.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
SCIENCE / Mathematical Physics
SCIENCE / Physics