chapter  2
27 Pages

The ecological background

ByIvette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, Angus Wright

The world of biodiversity is mainly in the small things, from bacteria to insects, leaving the charismatic megafauna as a rather trivial subplot to the main theme of diversity on earth. Biodiversity manifests itself in a variety of other patterns: an evolutionary pattern, a geographic pattern, an insular pattern and an intensification pattern. The major event in the evolution of biodiversity was the ability of cells to associate with one another, cell-to-cell signalling. The geographic pattern has been the subject of an enormous amount of speculation and debate in ecology. One of the most noted patterns of biodiversity is seen on islands. Generally, there are more species on larger islands and more species on islands nearer to the mainland. The main question of concern is how the pattern of associated biodiversity changes as a function of the intensification of agriculture.