Time in ecology

Ecology has traditionally treated time as part of the stage upon which ecological interactions play out, the part other being space. Departing from this long-standing view, I will suggest that time, much like space, should be treated as a resource used by organisms for growth, maintenance, and offspring production. I will apply insights from phenology—the study of the timing of life-cycle events—to present a conceptual framework of time in ecology that casts previous observations in a new light. Combining conceptual models with field data, this lecture will demonstrate how phenological advances, delays, and stasis can all be viewed as adaptive components of an organism’s strategic use of time. Hence, the allocation of time by individual organisms to critical life history stages may be seen as not only a response to environmental cues but also as an important driver of interactions at the population, species, and community levels.

Based on Prof Post’s forthcoming book published by Princeton University Press “Time in Ecology” press.princeton.edu/titles/13317.html