Nutrient Cycling and Limitation
Hawai'i as a Model System
Peter M. Vitousek
The availability or lack of nutrients shapes ecosystems in fundamental ways. From forest productivity to soil fertility, from the diversity of animals to the composition of microbial communities, nutrient cycling and limitation are the basic mechanisms underlying ecosystem ecology. In this book, Peter Vitousek builds on over twenty years of research in Hawai'i to evaluate the controls and consequences of variation in nutrient availability and limitation.
Integrating research from geochemistry, pedology, atmospheric chemistry, ecophysiology, and ecology, Vitousek addresses fundamental questions: How do the cycles of different elements interact? How do biological processes operating in minutes or hours interact with geochemical processes operating over millions of years? How does biological diversity interact with nutrient cycling and limitation in ecosystems? The Hawaiian Islands provide the author with an excellent model system for answering these questions as he integrates across levels of biological organization. He evaluates the connections between plant nutrient use efficiency, nutrient cycling and limitation within ecosystems, and nutrient input-output budgets of ecosystems.
This book makes use of the Hawaiian ecosystems to explore the mechanisms that shape productivity and diversity in ecosystems throughout the world. It will be essential reading for all ecologists and environmental scientists.