The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

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G. Evelyn Hutchinson, An Introduction to Population Ecology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978).

In his population ecology textbook, G. Evelyn Hutchinson surveyed the fundamental literature on how to study natural selection ecologically. Here he synthesizes the Slobodkin's work on the "predator effect," E. G. Leigh's on population fluctuations and environmental stability, and Lotka and Volterra's mathematical investigation of cyclical change in nature.

Asking "How is Living Nature Put Together?" Hutchinson answers: "Any animal population must have food, and this food must come either directly from a population of plants, in a living or sometimes dead and decomposing form, or from other organisms that have lived on such plants.' In language the translates the old concept of the "cycle of life" into contemporary population biology, hutchinson wrote that:

"The interrelations of the various trophic levels, the autotrophic plants feeding on simple chemical compounds and sunlight, the primary consumers or herbivores, the secondary, tertiary, and higher levels of consumers or carnivores, the parasites, and the decomposers living on dead organisms larger that themselves, returning materials to be used again by autotrophic plants, form a complicated food web."

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