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The Nature of NutritionA Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity$
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Stephen J. Simpson and David Raubenheimer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145655

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145655.001.0001

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How Does Nutrition Structure Ecosystems?

How Does Nutrition Structure Ecosystems?

(p.120) Eight How Does Nutrition Structure Ecosystems?
The Nature of Nutrition

Stephen J. Simpson

David Raubenheimer

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses the consequences of individual nutrition for populations and the assemblages of species that comprise ecological communities. However, the ecological consequences of nutrition are not restricted to the effects of diet on individual organisms but include as well the direct and indirect interactions occurring among individuals within populations and between species. Understanding the complex network of interactions that produce food webs and structure ecosystem dynamics requires the understanding of the participants' differing nutritional requirements, priorities, and regulatory capacities. Geometric Framework analyses have shown that these features differ between species and across trophic levels. Nutritional space is one part of the fundamental niche of an organism, and there is a need to integrate nutrition with the biophysical ecology of organisms. Evolutionary processes also need to be taken into account, and agent-based models offer promise toward development of a new understanding of the evolutionary ecology of nutrition.

Keywords:   individual nutrition, ecological communities, nutritional interactions, food webs, ecosystem dynamics, trophic dynamics, nutritional space, biophysical ecology, evolutionary ecology

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