The concept of organisms as ecosystem engineers ten years on: Progress, limitations, and challenges


Journal Article (Review)

The modification of the physical environment by organisms is a critical interaction in most ecosystems. The concept of ecosystem engineering acknowledges . this fact and allows ecologists to develop the conceptual tools for uncovering general patterns and building broadly applicable models. Although the concept has occasioned some controversy during its development, it is quickly gaining acceptance among ecologists. We outline the nature of some of these controversies and describe some of the major insights gained by viewing ecological systems through the lens of ecosystem engineering. We close by discussing areas of research where we believe the concept of organisms as ecosystem engineers will be most likely to lead to significant insights into the structure and function of ecological systems. © 2006 American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wright, JP; Jones, CG

Published Date

  • March 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 203 - 209

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3568

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1641/0006-3568(2006)056[0203:TCOOAE]2.0.CO;2

Citation Source

  • Scopus