Hybridizing Mechanism and MaxEnt: Ecological Theory for the Anthropocene
Abstract: Ecosystems display pervasive patterns in 1. the scaling of species richness with area, 2. the distributions of abundance across species, 3. The distribution of individuals within species over space, 4. the distribution of metabolic rates or body sizes across individuals, 5. the relationship between size and abundance, 6. the distribution of species richness across higher taxonomic categories, and 7. the distribution of edges across nodes in trophic networks. A theory of ecology based on the maximum entropy principle, predicts all these patterns remarkably accurately in relatively static ecosystems but the theory fails in ecosystems that are responding to anthropogenic stresses. By hybridizing mechanism with MaxEnt, we have created a theory capable of describing dynamic ecosystems that are changing in response to disturbance.
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