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 landscape with agriculture, tree corridors and housing in Dombrád, Hungary
Pictured left: A landscape with agriculture, tree corridors and housing in Dombrád, Hungary

Landscape ecology is the science of studying and improving relationships between urban development and ecological processes in the environment and particular ecosystems. This is done within a variety of landscape scales, development spatial patterns, and organizational levels of research and policy.

As a highly interdisciplinary science in systems ecology, landscape ecology integrates biophysical and analytical approaches with humanistic and holistic perspectives across the natural sciences and social sciences. Landscapes are spatially heterogeneous geographic areas characterized by diverse interacting patches or ecosystems, ranging from relatively natural terrestrial and aquatic systems such as forests, grasslands and lakes to human-dominated environments including agricultural and urban settings. The most salient characteristics of landscape ecology are its emphasis on the relationship among pattern, process and scale and its focus on broad-scale ecological and environmental issues. These necessitate the coupling between biophysical and socioeconomic sciences. Key research topics in landscape ecology include ecological flows in landscape mosaics, land use and land cover change, scaling, relating landscape pattern analysis with ecological processes, and landscape conservation and sustainability

Heterogeneity is the measure of how different parts of a landscape are from one another. Landscape ecology looks at how this spatial structure affects organism abundance at the landscape level, as well as the behavior and functioning of the landscape as a whole. This includes studying the influence of pattern, or the internal order of a landscape, on process, or the continuous operation of functions of organisms. Landscape ecology also includes geomorphology as applied to the design and architecture of landscapes. Geomorphology is the study of how geological formations are responsible for the structure of a landscape.


Selected picture

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Credit: Bruce Fritz, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Sunflowers were domesticated by humans, and are native to Central America. The evidence thus far is that it was first domesticated in Mesoamerica|, present day Mexico, by at least 2600 BC. It may have been domesticated a second time in the middle Mississippi Valley, or been introduced there from Mexico at an early date, as maize was. Sunflower leaves can be used as a cattle feed, while the stems contain a fiber which may be used in paper production.

Selected biography

Eugene Pleasants Odum (September 17, 1913 – August 10, 2002) was an American scientist known for his pioneering work on ecosystem ecology. He wrote and published, along with his brother, Howard T. Odum, the first ecology textbook: Fundamentals of Ecology. They continued to collaborate, in research as well as writing, for the rest of their lives.

Life depend on adequate conditions of food, water, and shelter from inclement elements and also that weather, geological, and biological factors (among others) are involved in the web of life that affords this environment. In the 1940s and 1950s, "ecology" was not yet a field of study that had been defined as a separate discipline. Even professional biologists seemed to Odum to be generally under-educated about how the Earth's ecological systems interact with one another. Odum brought forward the importance of ecology as a discipline that should be a fundamental dimension of the training of a biologist.

Odum adopted and developed further the term "ecosystem". Although sometimes said to have been coined by Raymond Lindeman in 1942, the term "ecosystem" first appeared in a 1935 publication by the British ecologist Arthur Tansley, and had in 1930 been coined by Tansley's colleague, Roy Clapham. Before Odum, the ecology of specific organisms and environments had been studied on a more limited scale within individual sub-disciplines of biology. Many scientists doubted that it could be studied on a large scale, or as a discipline in itself. Odum wrote a textbook on ecology with his brother, Howard Thomas Odum, a graduate student at Yale. The Odum brothers' book (first edition, 1953), Fundamentals of Ecology, was the only textbook in the field for about ten years. Among other things, the Odums explored how one natural system can interact with another. Their book has since been revised and expanded.

In 2007 the Institute of Ecology, which Odum founded at the University of Georgia, became the Odum School of Ecology, the first stand-alone academic unit of a research university dedicated to ecology.


Did you know...

Nc-red-clay-soil-2.jpg
...soil ecology is the study of the interactions among soil organisms, and between biotic and abiotic aspects of the soil environment? It is particularly concerned with the cycling of nutrients, formation and stabilization of the pore structure, the spread and vitality of pathogens, and the biodiversity of this rich biological community.
(Pictured left: a type of soil known as ultisol, common throughout the American South (especially near the piedmont), and colloquially known as "red clay soil". Photo taken in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.)
Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

Ecology news

From the Wikinews Environment portal
  • 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
  • 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

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

Selected quote

There are no boundaries in the real Planet Earth. No United States, no Soviet Union, no China, no Taiwan.... Rivers flow unimpeded across the swaths of continents. The persistent tides—the pulse of the sea—do not discriminate; they push against all the varied shores on Earth.
— Jacques Cousteau

Selected publication



The New Zealand Journal of Ecology is a biannual peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing ecological research relevant to New Zealand and the South Pacific. It has been published since 1952, firstly as a 1952 issue of New Zealand Science Review and then as the Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society until 1977. The Journal is published by the New Zealand Ecological Society, and is covered by Current Contents/Agriculture, Biology and Environmental Science, GEOBASE, and Geo Abstracts.

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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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