The current distribution of species bears the strong stamp of “big, slow” historical events and processes–speciation events, continental drift, meteor strikes, ice ages, the rises and falls of mountain ranges and land bridges, etc. Which has often been taken to imply that, in the grand scheme of things, the sorts of “small, fast” processes that contemporary community ecologists study don’t actually matter all that much.
In this old post, I argue that, to the contrary, “big, slow” historical processes only matter if contemporary community ecology lets them matter. What we ought to be asking is not whether community ecology is “important” (because it has to be), but why community ecology is “history preserving” rather than “history erasing”.
Intrigued? Click through and read the whole thing.
p.s. I know I said in a recent post that I was done talking about macroecology for a while. But the response to that post was so positive that I changed my mind. It’s gonna be all macroecology all the time now! (just kidding)