Plants, for example, are equipped with a variety of adaptations to deal with forest fires. Environmentally triggered germination of seeds is called serotiny. Soil is the living top layer of mineral and organic dirt that covers the surface of the planet.
It is the chief organizing centre of most ecosystem functions, and it is of critical importance in agricultural science and ecology. The decomposition of dead organic matter for example, leaves on the forest floor , results in soils containing minerals and nutrients that feed into plant production. The whole of the planet's soil ecosystems is called the pedosphere where a large biomass of the Earth's biodiversity organizes into trophic levels. Invertebrates that feed and shred larger leaves, for example, create smaller bits for smaller organisms in the feeding chain.
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Collectively, these organisms are the detritivores that regulate soil formation. Soils form composite phenotypes where inorganic matter is enveloped into the physiology of a whole community. As organisms feed and migrate through soils they physically displace materials, an ecological process called bioturbation.
This aerates soils and stimulates heterotrophic growth and production. Soil microorganisms are influenced by and feed back into the trophic dynamics of the ecosystem. No single axis of causality can be discerned to segregate the biological from geomorphological systems in soils. Other events, such as the evolution of trees and the colonization of land in the Devonian period played a significant role in the early development of ecological trophism in soils. Ecologists study and measure nutrient budgets to understand how these materials are regulated, flow, and recycled through the environment.
Six major elements hydrogen , carbon , nitrogen , oxygen , sulfur , and phosphorus ; H, C, N, O, S, and P form the constitution of all biological macromolecules and feed into the Earth's geochemical processes. From the smallest scale of biology, the combined effect of billions upon billions of ecological processes amplify and ultimately regulate the biogeochemical cycles of the Earth.
Understanding the relations and cycles mediated between these elements and their ecological pathways has significant bearing toward understanding global biogeochemistry. The ecology of global carbon budgets gives one example of the linkage between biodiversity and biogeochemistry. It is estimated that the Earth's oceans hold 40, gigatonnes Gt of carbon, that vegetation and soil hold Gt, and that fossil fuel emissions are 6.
In the Oligocene , from twenty-five to thirty-two million years ago, there was another significant restructuring of the global carbon cycle as grasses evolved a new mechanism of photosynthesis, C 4 photosynthesis , and expanded their ranges. This new pathway evolved in response to the drop in atmospheric CO 2 concentrations below ppm. Human-driven modifications to the planet's ecosystems e. Transformation of the global carbon cycle in the next century is projected to raise planetary temperatures, lead to more extreme fluctuations in weather, alter species distributions, and increase extinction rates.
The effect of global warming is already being registered in melting glaciers, melting mountain ice caps, and rising sea levels. Consequently, species distributions are changing along waterfronts and in continental areas where migration patterns and breeding grounds are tracking the prevailing shifts in climate.
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Large sections of permafrost are also melting to create a new mosaic of flooded areas having increased rates of soil decomposition activity that raises methane CH 4 emissions. There is concern over increases in atmospheric methane in the context of the global carbon cycle, because methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more effective at absorbing long-wave radiation than CO 2 on a year time scale. Ernst Haeckel : Ecology has a complex origin, due in large part to its interdisciplinary nature. However, they viewed life in terms of essentialism , where species were conceptualized as static unchanging things while varieties were seen as aberrations of an idealized type.
This contrasts against the modern understanding of ecological theory where varieties are viewed as the real phenomena of interest and having a role in the origins of adaptations by means of natural selection. Basking Nile crocodiles , he noted, would open their mouths to give sandpipers safe access to pluck leeches out, giving nutrition to the sandpiper and oral hygiene for the crocodile. He and his student Theophrastus made extensive observations on plant and animal migrations, biogeography, physiology, and on their behaviour, giving an early analogue to the modern concept of an ecological niche.
Stephen Forbes . Ecological concepts such as food chains, population regulation, and productivity were first developed in the s, through the published works of microscopist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek — and botanist Richard Bradley ? Humboldt drew inspiration from Isaac Newton as he developed a form of "terrestrial physics". In Newtonian fashion, he brought a scientific exactitude for measurement into natural history and even alluded to concepts that are the foundation of a modern ecological law on species-to-area relationships.
Als Versuch einer Oekologie der Gewaechse" Ernst Haeckel independently introduced the term a year later, in his book Generelle Morphologie der Organismen Haeckel was a zoologist, artist, writer, and later in life a professor of comparative anatomy. Opinions differ on who was the founder of modern ecological theory.
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Some mark Haeckel's definition as the beginning;  others say it was Eugenius Warming with the writing of Oecology of Plants: An Introduction to the Study of Plant Communities ,  or Carl Linnaeus ' principles on the economy of nature that matured in the early 18th century. Haeckel, who admired Darwin's work, defined ecology in reference to the economy of nature, which has led some to question whether ecology and the economy of nature are synonymous. From Aristotle until Darwin, the natural world was predominantly considered static and unchanging.
Prior to The Origin of Species , there was little appreciation or understanding of the dynamic and reciprocal relations between organisms, their adaptations, and the environment. Modern ecology is a young science that first attracted substantial scientific attention toward the end of the 19th century around the same time that evolutionary studies were gaining scientific interest. The scientist Ellen Swallow Richards may have first introduced the term " oekology " which eventually morphed into home economics in the U. In the early 20th century, ecology transitioned from a more descriptive form of natural history to a more analytical form of scientific natural history.
This publication launched a debate between ecological holism and individualism that lasted until the s. Clements' superorganism concept proposed that ecosystems progress through regular and determined stages of seral development that are analogous to the developmental stages of an organism. The Clementsian paradigm was challenged by Henry Gleason ,  who stated that ecological communities develop from the unique and coincidental association of individual organisms. This perceptual shift placed the focus back onto the life histories of individual organisms and how this relates to the development of community associations.
The Clementsian superorganism theory was an overextended application of an idealistic form of holism. Elton's 'food cycle' was replaced by 'food web' in a subsequent ecological text. Lotka brought in many theoretical concepts applying thermodynamic principles to ecology. In , Raymond Lindeman wrote a landmark paper on the trophic dynamics of ecology, which was published posthumously after initially being rejected for its theoretical emphasis. Trophic dynamics became the foundation for much of the work to follow on energy and material flow through ecosystems.
Robert MacArthur advanced mathematical theory, predictions, and tests in ecology in the s, which inspired a resurgent school of theoretical mathematical ecologists. Rachel Carson : Ecology surged in popular and scientific interest during the —s environmental movement. There are strong historical and scientific ties between ecology, environmental management, and protection.
Women such as Ellen Swallow Richards and Julia Lathrop , among others, were precursors to the more popularized environmental movements after the s. In , marine biologist and ecologist Rachel Carson 's book Silent Spring helped to mobilize the environmental movement by alerting the public to toxic pesticides , such as DDT , bioaccumulating in the environment. Carson used ecological science to link the release of environmental toxins to human and ecosystem health. Since then, ecologists have worked to bridge their understanding of the degradation of the planet's ecosystems with environmental politics, law, restoration, and natural resources management.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Ecology disambiguation. Scientific study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment. Biological organisation and Biological classification. System behaviors must first be arrayed into different levels of organization. Behaviors corresponding to higher levels occur at slow rates. Conversely, lower organizational levels exhibit rapid rates. For example, individual tree leaves respond rapidly to momentary changes in light intensity, CO 2 concentration, and the like.
The growth of the tree responds more slowly and integrates these short-term changes. Biodiversity refers to the variety of life and its processes. It includes the variety of living organisms, the genetic differences among them, the communities and ecosystems in which they occur, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that keep them functioning, yet ever changing and adapting. Lists of organisms by population. Community ecology examines how interactions among species and their environment affect the abundance, distribution and diversity of species within communities.
These ecosystems, as we may call them, are of the most various kinds and sizes. They form one category of the multitudinous physical systems of the universe, which range from the universe as a whole down to the atom.
Social ecology academic field. The history of life on Earth has been a history of interaction between living things and their surroundings. To a large extent, the physical form and the habits of the earth's vegetation and its animal life have been molded by the environment. Considering the whole span of earthly time, the opposite effect, in which life actually modifies its surroundings, has been relatively slight.
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Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species man acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world. Ecosystem management is not just about science nor is it simply an extension of traditional resource management; it offers a fundamental reframing of how humans may work with nature.
Metabolism — the rate at which energy and material resources are taken up from the environment, transformed within an organism, and allocated to maintenance, growth and reproduction — is a fundamental physiological trait. Wetland conditions such as shallow water, high plant productivity, and anaerobic substrates provide a suitable environment for important physical, biological, and chemical processes. Because of these processes, wetlands play a vital role in global nutrient and element cycles. Forest fires modify the land by leaving behind an environmental mosaic that diversifies the landscape into different seral stages and habitats of varied quality left.
Some species are adapted to forest fires, such as pine trees that open their cones only after fire exposure right. Nutrient cycle and Climate.
By ecology, we mean the whole science of the relations of the organism to the environment including, in the broad sense, all the "conditions of existence. Nowhere can one see more clearly illustrated what may be called the sensibility of such an organic complex, — expressed by the fact that whatever affects any species belonging to it, must speedily have its influence of some sort upon the whole assemblage.
He will thus be made to see the impossibility of studying any form completely, out of relation to the other forms, — the necessity for taking a comprehensive survey of the whole as a condition to a satisfactory understanding of any part. Ernst Haeckel left and Eugenius Warming right , two founders of ecology. This whole chain of poisoning, then, seems to rest on a base of minute plants which must have been the original concentrators.
But what of the opposite end of the food chain—the human being who, in probable ignorance of all this sequence of events, has rigged his fishing tackle, caught a string of fish from the waters of Clear Lake, and taken them home to fry for his supper? Ecology portal Biology portal. Chemical ecology Circles of Sustainability Cultural ecology Dialectical naturalism Ecological death Ecological psychology Ecology movement Ecosophy Ecopsychology Industrial ecology Information ecology Landscape ecology Natural resource Normative science Political ecology Sensory ecology Spiritual ecology Sustainable development.
Glossary of ecology Index of biology articles List of ecologists Outline of biology Terminology of ecology. Allgemeine Grundzige der organischen Formen- Wissenschaft, mechanisch begriindet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie.
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