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)

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Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability. A practitioner of hydrology is a hydrologist, working within the fields of earth or environmental science, physical geography, geology or civil and environmental engineering.

Domains of hydrology include hydrometeorology, surface hydrology, hydrogeology, drainage basin management and water quality, where water plays the central role. Oceanography and meteorology are not included because water is only one of many important aspects. Hydrological research can inform environmental engineering, policy and planning.

The central theme of hydrology is the hydrologic cycle, that of water circulating throughout the Earth through different pathways and at different rates. The most vivid image of this is in the evaporation of water from the ocean, which forms clouds. These clouds drift over the land and produce rain. The rainwater flows into lakes, rivers, or aquifers. The water in lakes, rivers, and aquifers then either evaporates back to the atmosphere or eventually flows back to the ocean, completing a cycle. Water changes its state of being several times throughout this cycle.

Pictured below: The oceans. Water covers 70% of the Earth's surface
Water covers 70% of the Earth's surface


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TerracesBuffers.JPG
Credit: Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm). It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs. Pictured: Terraces, conservation tillage, and conservation buffers save soil, control erosion and improve water quality on this Iowa farm. 1999.

Selected biography

Odum, Howard T.jpg
Howard Thomas Odum (1924 – 2002) (also known as 'Tom' or 'H.T.') was an American ecologist. He is known for his pioneering work on ecosystem ecology, and for his provocative proposals for additional laws of thermodynamics, informed by his work on general systems theory. Odum was the third child of the American sociologist Howard W. Odum, and the brother of ecologist Eugene Odum.

In 1950 Howard earned his Ph.D. in zoology at Yale University, under the guidance of G. Evelyn Hutchinson. His dissertation was titled The Biogeochemistry of Strontium: With Discussion on the Ecological Integration of Elements. This step took him from his early interest in ornithology and brought him into the emerging field of systems ecology. Through this a meteorologist "analysis of the global circulation of strontium, anticipated in the late 1940s the view of the earth as one great ecosystem."

While at Yale, Howard began his life-long collaborations with his brother Eugene Odum. In 1953, they published the first English-language textbook on systems ecology, Fundamentals of Ecology. Howard wrote the chapter on energetics which introduced his energy circuit language. They continued to collaborate, in research as well as writing, for the rest of their lives. For Howard, his energy systems language (which he called "energese") was itself a collaborative tool.

The Center for Wetlands at the University of Florida, founded in 1973 by Howard T. Odum, is the first of its kind in the world to especially study wetlands. From 1956 to 1963, Odum worked as Director of the Marine Institute of the University of Texas. During this time, he became aware of the interplay of ecological-energetic and economic forces. He then taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was in the Department of Zoology, and one of the professors in the new Curriculum of Marine Sciences until his move to the University of Florida in 1970. He then taught at the Environmental Engineering Sciences Department for 26 years until his retirement in 1996. He also started and directed the Center for Environmental Policy at the University of Florida and founded the University's Center for Wetlands in 1973, the first of its kind in the world that is still in operation today.


Did you know...

The Sun by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory - 20100819.jpg
...that the highest recorded temperature on Earth was 136 °F (57.8 °C), which was recorded in Al 'Aziziyah, Libya on September 13, 1922?

(Pictured left: A false-color image of the sun, photographed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA 304) of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory)

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

Ecology news

From the Wikinews Environment portal
  • 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
  • October 5: World Wildlife Fund: 75% of seafood species consumed in Singapore not caught sustainably
  • May 31: Australian Opposition Leader pledges to save Great Barrier Reef
  • May 1: 100 tons of ivory burned in Africa; estimated at $250 million on black market
  • March 4: Gunmen murder Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres

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

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It's very important that we expand our use of clean energy and make a long-term commitment to it. Biodiesel and ethanol are better for the environment and for the air we breathe. The use of biodiesel is a positive step toward minimizing pollutive emissions and greenhouse gases. By focusing on school buses, we can affect the health and well-being of the people most susceptible to that pollution—our children—today.
— Julia Roberts

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Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment is a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It is published ten times per year by the Ecological Society of America and is its official journal. Its focus is on present day concerns pertaining to ecological and environmental issues.

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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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