Ecological Experiments with Model Systems

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Science  21 Jul 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5222, pp. 328-331
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5222.328


Some of the classic experiments in ecology have involved real organisms interacting in the laboratory, that is, model systems. Ecologists are increasingly using model systems to investigate problems of global environmental change and questions about the assembly, persistence, and stability of complex communities. Model laboratory systems are a halfway house between mathematical models and the full complexity of the field, and they yield powerful insights into the dynamics of populations and ecosystems.