Marsh Ecology Book of the Year Award

2005 - Peter Vitousek for "Nutriment Cycling & Limitation: Hawaii as a model system"




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 Hawaii 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.

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