News FocusEcology

Conflict Over Cooperation

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Science  31 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5607, pp. 644-646
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5607.644

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In a provocative article in the March issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution, a trio of ecologists argues that much of modern ecological theory stems from a misleading fixation on the roles of competition, predation, and externally imposed stress in shaping natural communities. Missing from core concepts, they argue, is the growing realization that species can interact in positive ways--a process called facilitation--with major consequences for community structure. Not surprisingly, this challenge to fundamental concepts is creating perturbations in the community of ecologists.