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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Scale-Dependency of Approaches: Contrasts and Comparisons among Ecological Disciplines

Authors
item Breshears, David - LOS ALAMOS NATL LAB
item Mitchell, Katherine - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Allen, Craig - US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item Gross, John - CSIRO AUSTRALIA
item Monger, Curtis - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2002
Publication Date: August 4, 2002
Citation: BRESHEARS, D.D., MITCHELL, K.A., ALLEN, C.D., BESTELMEYER, B.T., GROSS, J.E., MONGER, C.H. SCALE-DEPENDENCY OF APPROACHES: CONTRASTS AND COMPARISONS AMONG ECOLOGICAL DISCIPLINES. 87TH ANNUAL MEETING, ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 2002. ABSTRACT P. 10.

Technical Abstract: Numerous approaches have been taken to evaluate spatial scaling relationships in ecology. These approaches can be generalized into three categoriesÂżthose that are non-spatial, those that are spatially explicit but not spatially interactive, and those that are both spatially explicit and spatially interactive. While it is relatively easy to categorize a given study within these three approaches, a more general perspective comparing and contrasting how these approaches are used within different ecological disciplines is largely lacking. Here we compare and contrast case studies related to vegetation-, biogeochemical/hydrological- and animal- dynamics, discuss the implications of selecting a given approach, and note insights that can be obtained from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Understanding these comparisons and contrasts is particularly important in cases where processes from different disciplines need to be coupled to one another. Examples of such cross-disciplinary couplings are highlighted. One case study evaluates scaling approaches for study in which drought produces vegetation mortality (vegetation dynamics) which was initially and subsequently exacerbated by grazing (animal dynamics), and has triggered large increases in runoff, erosion, and losses of carbon and other nutrients (biogeochemical and hydrologicalk dynamics). Our overview provides insights for comparing scaling approaches, being cognizant of implicit assumptions, and providing broader insights on scaling relationships across disciplines in ecology.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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