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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An area of the Russian Wilderness, located approximately 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Eureka, California
Pictured left: An area of the Russian Wilderness, located approximately 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Eureka in northern California, in the Klamath National Forest.

Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. It ranges in scale from the subatomic to the cosmic. Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" often refers to geology and wildlife. Nature may refer to the general realm of various types of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects – the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of the Earth, and the matter and energy of which all these things are composed. It is often taken to mean the "natural environment" or wilderness–wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention. This more traditional concept of natural things which can still be found today implies a distinction between the natural and the artificial, with the artificial being understood as that which has been brought into being by a human consciousness or a human mind. Depending on the particular context, the term "natural" might also be distinguished from the unnatural, the supernatural, or synthetic.

Earth (or, "the earth") is the only planet presently known to support life, and its natural features are the subject of many fields of scientific research. Within the solar system, it is third nearest to the sun; it is the largest terrestrial planet and the fifth largest overall. Its most prominent climatic features are its two large polar regions, two relatively narrow temperate zones, and a wide equatorial tropical to subtropical region. Precipitation varies widely with location, from several metres of water per year to less than a millimetre. 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by salt-water oceans. The remainder consists of continents and islands, with most of the inhabited land in the Northern Hemisphere.

The atmospheric conditions have been significantly altered from the original conditions by the presence of life-forms, which create an ecological balance that stabilizes the surface conditions. Despite the wide regional variations in climate by latitude and other geographic factors, the long-term average global climate is quite stable during interglacial periods,[1] and variations of a degree or two of average global temperature have historically had major effects on the ecological balance, and on the actual geography of the Earth.[2]


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Animal diversity.png
Credit: Composite image created by User:Medeis

There are many diverse animal species on the planet.

Selected biography

ErnstHaeckel.jpg
Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919), also written von Haeckel, was an eminent German biologist and philosopher. He promoted Charles Darwin's work in Germany and developed the theory that the organism's biological development, or ontogeny, parallels its species' evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-color illustrations of animals and sea creatures (see: Kunstformen der Natur, "Art Forms of Nature"). As a philosopher, Ernst Haeckel wrote Die Welträtsel (1895–1899, in English, The Riddle of the Universe, 1901), the genesis for the term "world riddle" (Welträtsel); and Freedom in Science and Teaching to support the teaching of evolution.


Did you know...

...chemical ecology is the study of the chemicals involved in the interactions of living organisms? It focuses on the production of and response to signaling molecules (i.e. semiochemicals) and toxins.
Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

Ecology news

From the Wikinews Environment portal
  • 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
  • November 4: Volkswagen emissions scandal may affect thousands more cars
  • September 24: Volkswagen CEO resigns after emissions scandal

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

Selected quote

There are some who frankly and boldly advocate the eradication of the last remnants of wilderness and the complete subjugation of nature to the requirements of—not man—but industry. This is a courageous view, admirable in its simplicity and power, and with the weight of all modern history behind it. It is also quite insane. I cannot attempt to deal with it here.
— Edward Abbey

Selected publication

Conservation Biologyis a peer-reviewedacademic journalof the Society for Conservation Biology, published by Wiley-Blackwell. Conservation Biologypublishes articles covering the science and practice of conserving Earth's biological diversity. Coverage includes issues concerning any of the Earth's ecosystemsor regions, and that apply different approaches to solving problems in this area.
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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


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