There is growing recognition that opportunities exist to use physiology as part of the conservation and management of populations and ecosystems. However, this idea has rarely been extended to the field of restoration ecology. Physiological metrics (e.g., gas exchange, energy transfer and metabolism, stress response, nutritional condition, gene expression) from a range of taxa can be used to understand the function of ecosystems as well as the factors that influence their structure. Such knowledge can assist the development and implementation of effective restoration strategies that recognize the role of habitat quality on organismal performance. Furthermore, physiological tools can be used to monitor the success of restoration projects during their implementation and as part of postproject monitoring. The often rapid response of physiological metrics provides more immediate information, enabling an adaptive approach to restoration, than can usually be obtained if the focus is solely on population- or ecosystem-level metrics. Greater integration of physiological responses into ecological restoration will provide practitioners with fundamental scientific information needed to design, implement, and monitor restoration activities to aid in repairing ecosystems around the globe.
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Vol. 58 • No. 10