An Illustrated Guide to Theoretical Ecology Paperback – 4 Nov 1999
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Case provides a clear review of important topics in the field that is suitable for self-teaching by the motivated reader. While maintaining his emphasis that the biological questions must ultimately dictate the mathematical approaches (for the ecologist, if not for the applied mathematician), he manages to introduce straightforwardly a variety of fairly advanced concepts relying on methods in calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. This is quite a challenge, and the totally unfamiliar reader will likely struggle, despite the effort to include most of the intervening steps in derivations and the abundance of graphical representations. Case clearly admits this in the preface, and the combination of the appendices, side topic "boxes" and outside materials allow this struggle to be overcome. Alternatively, the reader with a strong math background (e.g. familiarity with stability analysis for non-linear dynamical systems) may unsurprisingly find some of material too basic or insufficiently detailed. Both of these concerns relate primarily to the task of meeting the needs of a diverse audience, however, and my primary specific criticism of the text is that most answers to the (often quite thought-provoking) exercises ending sections/chapters are provided.
In general this book is quite successful and considerably improved my understanding of a number of issues. If anything, it deserves a second edition with attention to and incorporation of recent research.
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