Hierarchical complexity in ecological systems [Tim Allen, ISSS 1998 Paper Session, July 21/98]

[Paper session, July 21/98, 2:55 p.m.]

Tim Allen, Botany Department, University of Wisconsin

Start with same chart this morning, but will go a different direction

In biology, those with genetics had science by the throat.

Evolution generates complexity by adding little extra pieces, to solve the next problem, and the next...

Emergence: more complex than complicated -- using this definition. Don't want to give primacy to either evolution or emergence, both represent sides of a dual. Survival of the fittest-inest: (which is what Darwin meant): Have two systems which can be discussed: Lots of examples of ecological systems which do this: Often, biology departments are split: genetics versus evolution.

New way to look at biology: what is the gradient with which we're concerned?

In the evolution, the system is about cooling. Ecosystems: Also can look as prospect versus retrospect: two models, when you know what happens and when you don't know what happened. Worst scientific article: nature of complexity in Scientific American. Book to be published in 1999.

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