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Meta-communities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities M. Holyoak, M. A. Leibold, R. D. Holt . 2005. Meta-communities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press.<i>xi</i>+. 513 15 × 23 cm, softcover, US$38.00. ISBN: 0-22635064-9.

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. (Less)