2nd book review of Klaus Rohde ed.: The Balance of Nature and Human Impact. Cambridge University Press 2013

The review, by Professor W.E.Williams, was published a few weeks ago by Choice Reviews, copyright American Library Association.

For copyright reasons only short extracts are included here. For a previous review see http://blog.une.edu.au/klausrohde/2013/11/10/review-of-klaus-rohde-ed-the-balance-of-nature-and-human-impact-cambridge-university-press-2013/

……… specifically addressing two questions: the extent to which equilibrium processes, particularly competition,…..describe natural ecological systems, and whether ……..human disturbances–climate change, land-use change, introduction of invasive exotics, and so on–primarily upset existing equilibria or instead amplify disequilibria already present. Twenty-four papers and three concluding chapters examine these questions in widely different ecosystems, ….. plankton, coral-reef fishes, Australian birds, animal parasites, and many more. There are 29 contributors to the volume, ………Each chapter contains its own extensive list of references, and the book’s index is quite good……….. the book will appeal primarily to academic ecologists, although some essays are general enough to be useful to those more broadly interested in human ecological impacts. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals.

The Balance of Nature and Human Impact: Book Launch

I have drawn attention to this book in an earlier post (see here:


Details of the book (contents, contributors, excerpts) can be found here: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item6964672/?site_locale=en_GB

The book has now been published (Cambridge University Press, February 2013) and the Vice-Chancellor and Head of the School of Environmental and Rural Sciences will launch it on March 11 from 1-2 p.m. in the C.J. Hawkins Homestead foyer – W47.

New book: The Balance of Nature and Human Impact

A new book, dealing with effects of climate change, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and invasive species, will be published by Cambridge University Press early next year. I am the editor and about 30 leading scientists from around the world have contributed chapters. A further 20 have contributed by reviewing chapters.

Some examples of chapters are: physics of climate, effects of climate change on Arctic vegetation, amphibian decline, the futures of coral reefs, emerging infectious diseases, effects of climate change on insect populations, alternative stable states of plant communities, the mathematics of species invasions, effects of climate change on North American and Australian birds, and a concluding chapter dealing with measures necessary to conserve biodiversity.

Details can be found here:


Here are some excerpts from the book:

“It is clear that nature is undergoing rapid changes as a result of human activities such as industry, agriculture, travel, fisheries and urbanisation. What effects do these activities have? Are they disturbing equilibria in ecological populations and communities, thus upsetting the balance of nature, or are they enhancing naturally occurring disequilibria, perhaps with even worse consequences? It is often argued that large-scale fluctuations in climate and sea-levels have occurred over and over again in the geological past, long before human activities could possibly have had any impact, and that human effects are very small compared to those that occur naturally. Should we conclude that human activity cannot significantly affect the environment, or are these naturally occurring fluctuations actually being dangerously enhanced by humans? This book examines these questions, first by providing evidence for equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions in relatively undisturbed ecosystems, and second by examining human-induced effects.”


Introduction Klaus Rohde
Part I. Nonequilibrium and Equilibrium in Populations and Metapopulations: 1. Reef fishes: density dependence and equilibrium in populations? Graham Forrester and Mark Steele
2. Population dynamics of ectoparasites of terrestrial hosts Boris Krasnov and Annapaola Rizzoli
3. Metapopulation dynamics in marine parasites Ana Perez del Omo, Aneta Kostadinova and Serge Morand

Part II. Nonequilibrium and Equilibrium in Communities:
4. The paradox of the plankton Klaus Rohde
5. A burning issue: community stability and alternative stable states in relation to fire Peter J. Clarke and Mike J. Lawes
6. Community stability and instability in ectoparasites of marine and freshwater fish Andrea Simkova and Klaus Rohde
7. Ectoparasites of small mammals: interactive saturated and unsaturated communities Boris Krasnov
8. A macroecological approach to the equilibrial vs. nonequilibrial debate using bird populations and communities Brian McGill

Part III. Equilibrium and Nonequilibrium on Geographical Scales:
9. Island flora and fauna: equilibrium and nonequilibrium Lloyd Morrison
10. The turbulent past and future of arctic vascular plants: climate change, spatial variation, and genetic diversity Christian Brochmann, Mary E. Edwards and Inger G. Alsos

Part IV. Latitudinal Gradients:
11. Latitudinal diversity gradients: equilibrium and nonequilibrium explanations Klaus Rohde
12. Effective evolutionary time and the latitudinal diversity gradient Len Gillman and Shane Wright

Part V. Effects Due to Invading Species, Habitat Loss and Climate Change:
13. The physics of climate: equilibrium, disequilibrium and chaos Michael Box
14. Episodic processes, invasion and faunal mosaics in evolutionary and ecological time Eric Hoberg and Daniel R. Brooks
15. The emerging infectious diseases crisis and pathogen pollution Daniel R. Brooks and Eric Hoberg
16. Establishment or vanishing: fate of an invasive species based on mathematical models Yihong Du
17. Anthropogenic footprints on biodiversity Camilo Mora and Fernando Zapata
18. Worldwide decline and extinction of amphibians Harold Heatwole
19. Climatic change and reptiles Harvey B. Lillywhite
20. Equilibrium and non-equilibrium in Australian bird communities – the impact of natural and anthropogenic effects Hugh Ford
21. Population dynamics of insects: impacts of a changing climate Nigel Andrew
22. The futures of coral reefs Peter Sale

Part VI. Autecological Studies:
23. Autecology and the balance of nature-ecological laws and human induced invasions Gimme Walter
24. The intricacy of structural and ecological adaptations: micromorphology and ecology of some Aspidogastrea Klaus Rohde

Part VII. An Overall View:
25. The importance of interspecific competition in regulating communities, equilibrium vs. nonequilibrium Klaus Rohde
26. Evolutionarily stable strategies: how common are they? Klaus Rohde
27. How to conserve biodiversity in a nonequilibrium world Klaus Rohde, Hugh Ford, Nigel R. Andrew and Harold Heatwole


Parasite biogeography: new book

This is to draw your attention to a new book on the zoogeography of parasites, which will be published shortly:

The Biogeography of Host-Parasite Interactions. Oxford University Press.
Editors Serge Morand & Boris Krasnov

I have written the chapter on

Marine parasite diversity and environmental gradients.

A brief summary of this chapter follows:

This chapter, after a brief discussion of older studies which established the existence of zoogeographical regions and some patterns in the geographical distribution of marine parasites, describes latitudinal gradients in parasite diversity, reproductive strategies and host ranges; longitudinal gradients in diversity (centres of diversity and oceanic barriers between them); and depth gradients. The marine environment is less heterogeneous than terrestrial and freshwater habitats, and therefore more suitable for evaluating the causes of gradients. An attempt at such an evaluation is made. Important gaps in our knowledge are discussed and suggestions are made for future studies.

Latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Why are there so many species in the tropics?

A new paper by Gillman et al. (2009) confirms my hypothesis of “effective evolutionary time”, according to which species diversity is determined by direct temperature effects on mutation rates and generation times. The authors examined 260 mammal species of 10 orders and 29 families and found that substitution rates in the cytochrome B gene were substantially faster in species at warm latitudes and elevations, compared with those from cold latitudes and elevations. A critical examination of the data showed that this cannot be attributed to gene drift or body mass differentials. The only possibilities left are a Red Queen effect or direct effects of thermal gradients (including possibly an effect of torpor/hibernation differentials).

For details see




For my publications on latitudinal gradients see:


Ecology/Zoogeography, Economics, Parasitology and Philosophy Knols

Over the last several weeks I wrote a number of knols on ecology/zoogeography, ecology/economics, ecology/politics, parasitology, and philosophy, meant mainly for students and interested lay people. Some are in German, some in English. The English ones are listed below with links. Note that you can comment on the knols. Any suggestions for improvements are welcome.


The Latitude Niche Width Hypothesis


How Many Species on Earth?


Competitive Exclusion (Gause’s Principle)


Evolutionarily Stable Strategies (ESS’s)


The Paradox of the Plankton


Niche Restriction and Segregation


Vacant Niches


Effective Evolutionary Time

Rapoport’s Rule


Thorson’s Rule



The Aspidogastrea, Morphology and Life Cycles


The Aspidogastrea, Sacculinisation


The Aspidogastrea, Ecology


The Amphilinidea


Games Theory (Nash Equilibria) in Politics



A Limit to Globalization


Free Markets, Free Trade, Ecology



Schopenhauer’s Philosophy

Klaus Rohde: Latitudinal Gradients in Species Diversity, Reproductive Strategies and Geographical Ranges.

I am frequently receiving requests for information about my work on latitudinal gradients in species diversity, reproductive strategies and latitudinal ranges. To make it easier to find my references on this work, I publish a list below. Abstracts of some of these papers can be found on my homepage http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~krohde, key publications.

Rohde, K. 1978. Latitudinal differences in species diversity and their causes. I. A review of the hypotheses explaining the gradients. Biologisches Zentralblatt, 97, 393-403.

Rohde, K. 1978. Latitudinal gradients in species diversity and their causes. II. Marine parasitological evidence for a time hypothesis. Biologisches Zentralblatt, 97, 405-418.

Rohde, K. 1978. Latitudinal differences in host specificity of marine Monogenea and Digenea. Marine Biology, 47, 125-134.

Rohde, K. 1985. Increased viviparity of marine parasites at high latitudes. Hydrobiologia, 127, 197-201.

Rohde, K., Heap, M. and Heap, D. 1993. Rapoport’s rule does not apply to marine teleosts and cannot explain latitudinal gradients in species richness. American Naturalist, 142, 1-16.

Rohde, K. and Heap, M. 1996. Latitudinal ranges of teleost fish in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans. American Naturalist, 147, 659-665.

Rohde, K. 1996. Rapoport’s Rule is a local phenomenon and cannot explain latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Biodiversity Letters, 3, 10-13.

Poulin, R. and Rohde, K. 1997. Comparing the richness of metazoan ectoparasite communities of marine fishes: controlling for host phylogeny. Oecologia, 110, 278-283.

Rohde, K. 1997. The larger area of the tropics does not explain latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Oikos, 79, 169-172.

Rohde, K. and Heap, M. 1998. Latitudinal differences in species and community richness and in community structure of metazoan endo- and ectoparasites of marine teleost fish. International Journal for Parasitology, 28, 461-474.

Rohde, K. 1998. Latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Area matters, but how much? Oikos, 82, 184-190.

Rohde, K. 1999. Latitudinal gradients in species diversity and Rapoport’s rule revisited: a review of recent work, and what can parasites teach us about the causes of the gradients? Ecography, 22, 593-613 (invited Minireview on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Nordic Ecological Society Oikos). Also published in Fenchel, T. ed.: Ecology 1999-and tomorrow, pp. 73-93. Oikos Editorial Office, University Lund, Sweden.

Rohde, K. 2002. Ecology and biogeography of marine parasites. Advances in Marine Biology, 43, 1-86.

Rohde, K. 2005. Latitudinal, longitudinal and depth gradients. In: K.Rohde (ed.). Marine Parasitology. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne and CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxon, 348-351, 526-527.

Rohde, K. 2005. Eine neue Ökologie. Aktuelle Probleme der evolutionären Ökologie. Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau, 58, 420-426.

Rohde, K. and Stauffer, D. 2005. Simulation of geographical trends in Chowdhury ecosystem model. Advances in Complex Systems 8, 451-464.

Rohde, K. 2005. Nonequilibrium Ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 223 pp. ISBN 052 1854 34.

Stauffer, D and. Rohde, K. 2006. Simulation of Rapoport’s rule for latitudinal species spread. Theory in Biosciences 125, 55-65.

Stauffer, D., Schulze, C. and Rohde, K. 2007. Habitat width along a latitudinal gradient. Vie et Milieu 57, 181-187.