Populations and communities do not exist in isolation; they are parts of ecosystems, and, as such, they are subjected to constraints arising from ecosystem functioning, in particular energy dissipation and nutrient cycling. At the same time, ecosystems do not exist without their biological components; the latter impose their own constraints on ecosystem processes, as the disruptions generated by some biological invasions attest. And in the face of the growing threat of a massive loss of biological diversity, interest is increasing concerning the role of biodiversity in ecosystem processes.
This has created an urgent need to integrate the two subdisciplines and it is the principal aim of the LINKECOL programme to unify these different perspectives. Such integration is essential not only to advance our fundamental understanding of natural and managed ecosystems but also to provide answers to more applied questions such as the impacts of biodiversity loss or species invasions on ecosystem sustainability.