Portal:Ecology

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Ecology
Unique plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3,700 metre) elevation)
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Ecology, also referred to as ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as solar insolation, climate and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat. The term Ökologie was coined in 1866 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel; the word is derived from the Greek οικος (oikos, "household") and λόγος (logos, "study"); therefore "ecology" means the "study of the household (of nature)".

Ecology is also a human science. There are many practical applications of ecology in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agriculture, forestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science and human social interaction (human ecology)

(Pictured left: Unique plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3,700 metre) elevation)

Selected article

A bus fueled by biodiesel
Pictured left: A bus fueled by biodiesel

Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases. Although fossil fuels have their origin in ancient carbon fixation, they are not considered biofuels by the generally accepted definition because they contain carbon that has been "out" of the carbon cycle for a very long time. Biofuels are gaining increased public and scientific attention, driven by factors such as oil price spikes, the need for increased energy security, concern over greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and government subsidies. Some biofuels include biodiesel and bioethanol.

In 2010 worldwide biofuel production reached 105 billion liters (28 billion gallons US), up 17% from 2009, and biofuels provided 2.7% of the world's fuels for road transport, a contribution largely made up of ethanol and biodiesel. Global ethanol fuel production reached 86 billion liters (23 billion gallons US) in 2010, with the United States and Brazil as the world's top producers, accounting together for 90% of global production. The world's largest biodiesel producer is the European Union, accountig for 53% of all biodiesel production in 2010. As of 2011, mandates for blending biofuels exist in 31 countries at the national level and in 29 states/provinces. According to the International Energy Agency, biofuels have the potential to meet more than a quarter of world demand for transportation fuels by 2050.

Numerous studies have shown that biomass fuels have significantly less impact on the environment than fossil based fuels. Of note is the U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory, Operated by Midwest Research Institute Biomass Power and Conventional Fossil Systems with and without CO2 Sequestration – Comparing the Energy Balance, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economics Study. Power generation emits significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). Sequestering CO2 from the power plant flue gas can significantly reduce the GHGs from the power plant itself, but this is not the total picture. CO2 capture and sequestration consumes additional energy, thus lowering the plant's fuel-to-electricity efficiency. To compensate for this, more fossil fuel must be procured and consumed to make up for lost capacity.


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GreenWallMurVégétal.jpg
Credit: User: Lamiot

Plant biodiversity"Green wall", in Lille, northern France

Selected biography

Aziz Nacib Ab'Sáber (born October 24, 1924) is an environmentalist and one of Brazil´s most respected scientists, honored with the highest awards of Brazilian science in geography, geology, ecology and archaeology. Graduated in geography, he is a former president and current honororary president of the SBPC (Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science), Emeritus Professor of the University of São Paulo and member of the highest rank - Order Grão-Cruz in Earth Sciences - of the Academy of Science.

The contributions of Ab`Saber to science range from the first research of oil camps in Brazil's northeast to surveys of Brazil's natural realms and the restoration of the history of forests, camps and primitive humans over geologic time in South America. He made central contributions to biology, South American archaeology, and to Brazilian ecology, geology and geography.

Ab'Sáber was the first person to classify scientifically the Brazilian and South-America territory in morphoclimatic domains. He also contributed to the "Pleistocene refuge hypothesis", an attempt to explain the distribution of Neotropical taxa as a function of their isolation in forest fragments during glacial periods, which allowed populations to speciate.


Did you know...

Coptotermes formosanus shiraki USGov k8204-7.jpg
...in many cultures, termites (particularly the winged ones known as alates) are used for food?

(Pictured left: Formosan subterranean termites)

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

Ecology news

From the Wikinews Environment portal
  • 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
  • January 3: Gunman kills Burundi environment minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru
  • December 29: Around 7,100 cheetahs remain, say experts

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

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The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea and sky and their amazing life.
— Rachel Carson

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Ibis, subtitled the International Journal of Avian Science, is the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the British Ornithologists' Union. Topics covered include ecology, conservation, behaviour, palaeontology, and taxonomy of birds. It's available for free on the internet for institutions in the developing world through the OARE scheme (Online Access to Research in the Environment).

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  • 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


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