Portal:Ecology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 Earth flag PD.jpg Portal  Nuvola apps bookcase.svg Topics and categories  People icon.svg WikiProject
Ecology
The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg

Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, "house", or "environment"; -λογία, "study of")[A] is the branch of biology which studies the interactions among organisms and their environment. Objects of study include interactions of organisms with each other and with abiotic components of their environment. Topics of interest include the biodiversity, distribution, biomass, and populations of organisms, as well as cooperation and competition within and between species. Ecosystems are dynamically interacting systems of organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living components of their environment. Ecosystem processes, such as primary production, pedogenesis, nutrient cycling, and niche construction, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. These processes are sustained by organisms with specific life history traits. Biodiversity means the varieties of species, genes, and ecosystems, enhances certain ecosystem services.

Ecology is not synonymous with environmentalism, natural history, or environmental science. It overlaps with the closely related sciences of evolutionary biology, genetics, and ethology. An important focus for ecologists is to improve the understanding of how biodiversity affects ecological function. Ecologists seek to explain:

  • Life processes, interactions, and adaptations
  • The movement of materials and energy through living communities
  • The successional development of ecosystems
  • The abundance and distribution of organisms and biodiversity in the context of the environment.

Ecology has practical applications in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology). For example, the Circles of Sustainability approach treats ecology as more than the environment 'out there'. It is not treated as separate from humans. Organisms (including humans) and resources compose ecosystems which, in turn, maintain biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and produce natural capital like biomass production (food, fuel, fiber, and medicine), the regulation of climate, global biogeochemical cycles, water filtration, soil formation, erosion control, flood protection, and many other natural features of scientific, historical, economic, or intrinsic value.

The word "ecology" ("Ökologie") was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel. Ecological thought is derivative of established currents in philosophy, particularly from ethics and politics. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Hippocrates and Aristotle laid the foundations of ecology in their studies on natural history. Modern ecology became a much more rigorous science in the late 19th century. Evolutionary concepts relating to adaptation and natural selection became the cornerstones of modern ecological theory.

Selected article

The Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan, which ecologist Henry Chandler Cowles referred to in his development of his theories of ecological succession.
Pictured left: The Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan, which ecologist Henry Chandler Cowles referred to in his development of his theories of ecological succession.

In the History of ecology, ecology is generally spoken of as a new science, having only become prominent in the second half of the 20th century. More precisely, there is agreement that ecology emerged as a distinct discipline at the turn of the 20th century, and that it gained public prominence in the 1960s, due to widespread concern for the state of the environment. Nonetheless, ecological thinking at some level has been around for a long time, and the principles of ecology have developed gradually, closely intertwined with the development of other biological disciplines. Thus, one of the first ecologists may have been Aristotle or perhaps his student, Theophrastus, both of whom had interest in many species of animals. Theophrastus described interrelationships between animals and between animals and their environment as early as the 4th century BC.

While Charles Darwin focused exclusively on competition as a selective force, Eugen Warming devised a new discipline that took abiotic factors, that is drought, fire, salt, cold etc., as seriously as biotic factors in the assembly of biotic communities. Biogeography before Warming was largely of descriptive nature – faunistic or floristic. Warming’s aim was, through the study of organism (plant) morphology and anatomy, i.e. adaptation, to explain why a species occurred under a certain set of environmental conditions. Moreover, the goal of the new discipline was to explain why species occupying similar habitats, experiencing similar hazards, would solve problems in similar ways, despite often being of widely different phylogenetic descent. Based on his personal observations in Brazilian cerrado, in Denmark, Norwegian Finnmark and Greenland, Warming gave the first university course in ecological plant geography. Based on his lectures, he wrote the book ‘Plantesamfund’, which was immediate translated to German, Polish and Russian, later to English as ‘Oecology of Plants’. Through its German edition, the book had immense effect on British and North American scientist like Arthur Tansley, Henry Chandler Cowles and Frederic Clements.



Selected picture

Credit: Nicolas Pourcelot

A limule (Horseshoe crab) in the Hạ Long Bay, Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam. Horseshoe crabs are arthropods that live primarily in shallow ocean waters on soft sandy or muddy bottoms.

Selected biography

William Skinner Cooper (August 25, 1894 – October 8, 1978) was an American ecologist.

Cooper received his B.S. in 1906 from Alma College in Michigan. In 1909, he entered graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he studied with Henry Chandler Cowles, and completed his Ph.D. in 1911. His first major publication, "The Climax Forest of Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and Its Development" appeared in 1913.

Cooper served briefly in 1914-1915 as a lecturer in plant ecology at Stanford University before beginning his long career in the botany department at the University of Minnesota, where he taught from 1915 to 1951. Among his students at Minnesota was Frank Edwin Egler and Arnold M. Schultz; the latter went on to teach "Ecosystemology" at U.C. Berkeley, and received U.C. Berkeley's "Distinguished Teaching Award" in 1992. Cooper was the president of the Ecological Society of America in 1936 and the president of the Minnesota Academy of Science in 1937. Other professional accolades included receipt of the Botanical Society of America's Merit Award in 1956 and the Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America in 1963.


Did you know...

School of Pterocaesio chrysozona in Papua New Guinea 1.jpg
...that scientists estimate approximately 230,000 ocean species are currently known, but the total could be up to 10 times that number?

(Pictured left: A school of Goldband fusilier (Pterocaesio chrysozona) in Papua, New Guinea.)

Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

Ecology news

From the Wikinews Environment portal
  • June 25: India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force
  • June 10: New study of endangered whale shark youth shows vital habitat similarities
  • April 9: Woolworths, Australia moves single-use plastic bags ban date to June 20
  • March 21: Kenyan conservancy euthanises last male northern white rhino; only two females remain
  • March 3: French fashion brand Lacoste announces limited-edition logo change from crocodile to endangered animals
  • January 17: British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • November 6: U.S. government report says climate change is human-made
  • October 8: Researchers find preserving spotted owl habitat may not require a tradeoff with wildfire risk after all
  • July 9: India Supreme Court overrules High Court: rivers Yamuna, Ganga no longer living entities
  • July 7: Volvo announces all new car models electric or hybrid from 2019

Additional News Highlights
  • November 5, 2009: "New ocean forming in African desert."
More ecology news on Wikinews

Selected quote

Ecology is beginning to slowly shift focus with tentative explorations of what the world would look like if process, rather than matter were the basis for reality What if we defined a species in terms of its life processes? We might seriously doubt whether the California condor or the tall grass prairie can be 'saved' or even 'restored.' Perhaps we can re-create some local conditions that foster a few nests of condors or a few acres of prairie. But the life process of the condor ended with the urbanization of the California foothills and the living ebb and flow of the tall grass prairies died with the plowing of the Great Plains. What if we suggested that a thing is what it does? In this light, the Rocky Mountain locust was a immense aperiodic energy flow that linked life processes on a continental scale.
— Jeffrey A. Lockwood

Selected publication



The American Naturalist is a monthly scientific journal that was founded in 1867 and is associated with the American Society of Naturalists. It is published by the University of Chicago Press. The journal covers ecology, evolutionary biology, population, and integrative biology research.

More selected publications... Read more...

Related WikiProjects

Things you can do

This list is transcluded from the tasks list page, to edit, click here


Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
 – When a task is completed, please remove it from the list.


Related portals

Related articles

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Web resources

  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Ecology
  • The Encyclopedia of Earth – Wilderness: Biology & Ecology
  • The Nature Education Knowledge Project – Ecology
  • Ecology Dictionary – Explanation of ecological terms
  • Ecology Journals – List of ecological scientific journals


Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Portal:Ecology&oldid=850514839"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Ecology
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Portal:Ecology"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA