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Excellence in Ecology: Book 32

Common Ecology


Kevin J. Gaston


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, UK

Recipient of the International Ecology Institute (ECI) Prize 2017 in terrestrial ecology



This book is a manifesto and a synthesis. It is a manifesto for increased attention to common ecology. Common species shape much of the natural world, provide much of ecosystem functioning and services, and are under great pressure from human activities, but this significance seems often not to receive the focus that it should. The book is also a synthesis of much present understanding of common ecology, and with a focus on general principles covers a lot of ground in a short space. It addresses how commonness is defined and some of its fundamental features, its temporal dynamics, and what determines which species become common. It then turns to evolutionary issues, followed by the ecological importance of common species. Finally, it considers how anthropogenic impacts on common species have manifested themselves, addressing in turn species declines, the loss of wildlife spectacles and extinctions, and then what might be done to keep the common common. In the midst of a global biodiversity crisis, and profound concerns over the loss of rare species, this book argues the case also for those species that are often more familiar and literally commonplace.


Kevin J. Gaston is Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Exeter. His research has ranged widely, but with persistent themes being the rarity and commonness of species, and the interactions between people and nature. Recent foci have been the linked triumvirate of common ecology, nighttime ecology and personalised ecology. Kevin's research spans observational, experimental and data analytical studies. Much of it is cross-disciplinary or interdisciplinary, including collaborations with astrophysicists, economists and psychologists. Kevin was founder and head of the Biodiversity & Macroecology Group (BIOME; Univ. Sheffield) and founding director of the Environment & Sustainability Institute (ESI; Univ. Exeter). He is founding editor-in-chief of the British Ecological Society journal People and Nature.


Books are sold at cost price. A considerable number of books are donated to libraries in less developed countries.


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Print book


Book 32: Common Ecology by Kevin J. Gaston. 2023. VI + 210 pp. ISSN 0932-2205 ISBN 978-3-946729-32-7, ECI Price €42 + Postage


From the Distributor: Natural History Book Store (nhbs)


From the International Ecology Institute (ECI): ECI EE-Book Order Form


Electronic book

*NEW* eBook 32: Common by Kevin J. Gaston. 2023. ISBN 978-3-946729-70-9, € 26.17


From the International Ecology Institute (ECI): ECI webshop


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