Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

My review of “How Species Interact” published in Ecological Modelling

Posted 18 Aug 2012 / 1

My review of How Species Interact: Altering the Standard View of Trophic Ecology by Roger Arditi and Lev R. Ginzburg was just published in Ecological Modelling. You can also read the review here.

Lev Ginzburg was my dissertation advisor, so clearly this review has to be seen as subjective; however, if you look at how strong the reaction has been to ratio-dependent theory, it is hard to imagine that anyone would come at this book with true objectivity. You can read what I had to say about the book, a monograph which I appraise as valuable overall. Having spent my graduate school years thinking about functional response theory, it has become clear to me that predator-prey theory faces a dilemma that it would rather ignore: this fundamental component of state-variable population models cannot be assumed a priori, as what functional response you include in your model generally has a profound effect on its predictions. What How Species Interact points out so well is that there are many ecologically-relevant scenarios in which the assumptions of the traditional prey-dependent functional response collapses. Arditi and Ginzburg’s book could be read as a call for theorists to change their approach; future modeling will only be relevant if its assumptions can be reliably based on empirically-obtained properties of the modeled system. For years the legacy of Lotka-Volterra has lulled the field into thinking that choosing a functional response was easy: How Species Interact is a potent warning against such scientific complacency.

A Major Post, Books, Ecological Modeling, Ecology, My publications, Predation

1 Comment to "My review of “How Species Interact” published in Ecological Modelling"

[…] new book How Species Interact, reviewed recently in Science here, and a different review here) that ratio-dependence is the way to go. I will post more on my thoughts on the predator prey […]

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