This book presents a theoretical framework for understanding the dynamics of shallow lake communities as it has evolved over the past years from a combination of empirical studies, experimental work and model analysis. Although, as in most theoretical work, mathematical formulations play a role, the models that are used remain simple and most analyses are graphical rather than algebraic. The book will therefore appeal to workers who do not usually dig deep into theoretical ecology such as lake managers, field biologists and experimentalists. Students of theoretical ecology will also gain from the many real-world applications of topics such as predation and competition theory, bifurcation analysis and catastrophe theory.
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`Much rarer are textbooks that so succinctly sum up the state-of-the-art knowledge about a subject that they become instant `bibles'. This book is one of these. It is probably one of the best biological textbooks I have read. Scheffer masterfully pulls all this information together under one cover and presents a coherent account, which will serve as a benchmark for the subject. The reader will not gain any great insight into the breeding biology of pike from this book, nor learn much about dragonflies or newts. They will, however, come to understand the essential nature of shallow lakes or, as the author puts it, `how shallow lakes work'. Overall, this book will be of great interest to practical and theoretical ecologists, students and managers in all fields of biology. All freshwater ecologists should certainly read it.'
Simon Harrison in Journal of Ecology, 86
`The book by Scheffer can be seen as a milestone in the recognition of shallow lakes as a research topic in its own right. Scheffer uses three approaches concurrently to unravel the functioning of shallow lakes: 1) statistical analysis of large datasets from a variety of lakes; 2) simple abstract models made up of a few non-linear ordinary differential equations, which he calls `mini-models'; and 3) logical reasoning based on a mixture of results from fieldwork, experiments and models. What is new is that Scheffer links mathematics very nicely with what one feels is a correct description of the functioning of a shallow lake. Employing logical reasoning, Scheffer combines all these sources of knowledge into a general, coherent picture of the functioning of a shallow lake.'
Wolf Mooij in Aquatic Ecology, 32
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