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Maximum Entropy and Ecology – A Theory of Abundance, Distribution, and Energetics | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Maximum Entropy and Ecology: A Theory of Abundance, Distribution, and Energetics

John Harte


A goal of every science is comprehensive theory that is predictive, realistic, and parsimonious. Is such theory possible in ecology? The sheer complexity, historical contingency, and scale-dependence of organisms and their interactions with their surroundings suggest to many a negative answer. This book answers yes. Rather than building and combining mechanistic models of ecosystems, the approach here is grounded in information theory and the logic of inference. Paralleling the derivation of thermodynamics from the maximum entropy principle, the state variable theory of ecology developed in th ... More

Keywords: macroecology, maximum entropy, biodiversity, scaling, abundance distribution, body size distribution, information theory, spatial ecology, ecological theory

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199593415
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593415.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John Harte, author
University of California, Berkeley, USA