Portal:Ecology

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Ecology
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Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, "house" and -λογία, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment [1], [2]. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystems, and biosphere level. Ecology overlaps with the closely related sciences of biogeography, evolutionary biology, genetics, ethology and natural history. Ecology is a branch of biology, and it is not synonymous with environmentalism.

Among other things, ecology is the study of:

  • Life processes, interactions, and adaptations
  • The movement of materials and energy through living communities
  • The successional development of ecosystems
  • Cooperation, competition and predation within and between species.
  • The abundance, biomass, and distribution of organisms in the context of the environment.
  • Patterns of biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem processes

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).

The word "ecology" ("Ökologie") was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel, and it became a rigorous science in the late 19th century. Evolutionary concepts relating to adaptation and natural selection are cornerstones of modern ecological theory.

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, nutrient cycling, and niche construction, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. Ecosystems have biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and provide ecosystem services 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. (Full article...)

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Sand dunes in the Sahara Desert
Desert ecology is the study of interactions between both biotic and abiotic components of desert environments. A desert ecosystem is defined by interactions between organisms, the climate in which they live, and any other non-living influences on the habitat. Deserts are arid regions that are generally associated with warm temperatures; however, cold deserts also exist. Deserts can be found in every continent, with the largest deserts located in Antarctica, the Arctic, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. (Full article...)
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Some Hydrothermal vents support peculiar ecosystems, based on dissolved minerals. Hydrothermal vent communities are able to sustain such vast amounts of life because vent organisms depend on chemosynthetic bacteria for food. The water that comes out of the hydrothermal vent is rich in dissolved minerals and supports a large population of chemo-autotrophic bacteria.

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Modern biology began in the nineteenth century with Charles Darwin's work on evolution by natural selection.

Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations. Charles Darwin popularised the term "natural selection", contrasting it with artificial selection, which in his view is intentional, whereas natural selection is not.

Variation exists within all populations of organisms. This occurs partly because random mutations arise in the genome of an individual organism, and their offspring can inherit such mutations. Throughout the lives of the individuals, their genomes interact with their environments to cause variations in traits. The environment of a genome includes the molecular biology in the cell, other cells, other individuals, populations, species, as well as the abiotic environment. Because individuals with certain variants of the trait tend to survive and reproduce more than individuals with other less successful variants, the population evolves. Other factors affecting reproductive success include sexual selection (now often included in natural selection) and fecundity selection. (Full article...)

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Portrait by Ernst Hildebrand (1895)
Karl August Möbius (7 February 1825 in Eilenburg – 26 April 1908 in Berlin) was a German zoologist who was a pioneer in the field of ecology and a former director of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. (Full article...)

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Wetland restoration in Australia.jpg
... restoration ecology is the scientific study and practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action, within a short time frame? Restoration ecology emerged as a separate field in ecology in the 1980s.
(Pictured left: Recently constructed wetland regeneration in Australia, on a site previously used for agriculture)
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I was a Boy Scout, and scouting gave me an appreciation for nature and the outdoors that set the stage for my career as an environmental activist. The other thing would be growing up in Los Angeles-the smog capital of the world for quite a while.
— Ed Begley, Jr.

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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. (Full article...)

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