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Organism and EnvironmentEcological Development, Niche Construction, and Adaptation$
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Sonia E. Sultan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587070.001.0001

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Habitat construction and functional feedbacks

Habitat construction and functional feedbacks

How organisms modify their external conditions

Chapter:
(p.93) Chapter 5 Habitat construction and functional feedbacks
Source:
Organism and Environment
Author(s):

Sonia E. Sultan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587070.003.0005

The presence and activities of organisms inevitably modify their external environments. These habitat construction effects in turn influence the organisms’ function and evolution in the modified habitat. This chapter explores the nature and variety of habitat-constructing effects. It examines key concepts, identifies conservation and management implications, and presents detailed case studies of bacterial, animal, and plant impacts on environments. The first section draws on recent examples to illustrate how organisms change the physical, chemical, and biotic features and heterogeneity of their habitats. A series of case studies examines organismic impacts in detail. First is the familiar case of earthworm effects on soil composition and structure. The next section examines how plants shape soil chemistry and biota, above-ground and below-ground distribution of water and nutrients, and microclimate. A third set of case studies presents the powerful impacts of bacteria on external temperature and on climatic, chemical, and moisture conditions, at ecological scales from ecosystem to microscopic.

Keywords:   niche construction, ecosystem engineers, earthworms, rhizosphere, leaf litter, root exudates, phytoplankton, nitrogen fixation, rhizobia, phyllosphere

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