Portal:Ecology

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Ecology
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Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, "house", or "environment"; -λογία, "study of") is a branch of biology concerning interactions among organisms and their biophysical environment, which includes both biotic and abiotic components. 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.

Ecology is not synonymous with environmentalism or strictly natural history. 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). 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. Read more...

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The Albanian Alps represent a major geomorphological part of Albania. It is the southernmost continuation of the Dinaric Alps, which extend along the Adriatic Sea from the Julian Alps in the northwest down to the Albanian Alps in the southeast.

For a small country, Albania is characterised by a considerable wealth of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and habitats with contrasting floral and faunal species, defined in an area of 28,748 square kilometres. Most of the country is predominantly of Mediterranean character, comprehending the country's center and south, while the alpine affinity is more visible in the northeast.

Apart the diversity of topography and climate, the direct proximity of Albania to the Mediterranean Sea and the significant location within the European continent have created favorable conditions for appearance of a vast array of flora and fauna with an immense quality, which, however, led the country to be recognised as an important biodiversity hotspot in the continent. The number of globally globally threatened faunal species in Albania is high with an integral part of more than 181 species, ranking seventh in the Mediterranean Basin. Read more...
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Credit: Sebastien D'ARCO

Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge (spark) accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms. The study of the atmosphere and atmospheric variables that affect various ecoregions and ecosystems is a significant part of the discipline of Ecology.

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A parasitoid wasp (Trioxys complanatus, Aphidiidae) ovipositing into the body of a spotted alfalfa aphid, a behaviour that is used in biological pest control

In evolutionary ecology, a parasitoid is an organism that lives in close association with its host at the host's expense, eventually resulting in the death of the host. Parasitoidism is one of six major evolutionary strategies within parasitism, distinguished by the fatal prognosis for the host, which makes the strategy close to predation.

Among parasitoids, strategies range from living inside the host (endoparasitism), allowing it to continue growing before emerging as an adult, to paralysing the host and living outside it (ectoparasitism). Hosts can include other parasitoids, resulting in hyperparasitism; in the case of oak galls, up to five levels of parasitism are possible. Some parasitoids influence their host's behaviour in ways that favour the propagation of the parasitoid. Read more...

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Joan Roughgarden (born on 13 March 1946) is an American ecologist and evolutionary biologist. She is well known for her theistic evolutionism and critical studies on Charles Darwin's theory of sexual selection. Read more...

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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)

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Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.


Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, 1897

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Checkerspot was a biannual climate change magazine in Canada published by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. A free magazine, its inaugural issue was launched May 2007 and stopped production in 2009 due to the economic downturn. The Canadian Wildlife Federation, one of Canada’s largest non-profit, non-governmental conservation organizations, works to protect Canada’s wild species and spaces. Checkerspot was used to advance activism on and promote discussions about climate change.

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