Ecology is a subdiscipline of biology that examines the interrelationships of organisms and their environment.
Environmental protection and nature conservation are elements of ecology. Because environmental awareness has been on the rise since the middle of the 20th century, the term ecology is frequently used in the same breath as environmental protection andnature conservation. There is a demarcation line however. Ecology describes the relationship between living beings and the environment, while environmental protection and nature conservation involve measures aimed at preserving the environment. Although ecology research is a broad field, it can be broken down into three main subdisciplines :
At a high level, ecology involves the propagation and frequency of organisms. Where do they come from? What type of organism did they originate from? How many are there? And where do they appear? The goal of ecological analyses is providing answers to these questions. Biotic and abiotic environmental factors that can influence the environment are also part any ecological analysis. What makes ecological research so difficult is the complexity of the biological systems. Individual observations serve less as focal points and more as general conclusions produced from mathematics, statistics or experiments. A vital part of ecology is reducing complex structures to simple conclusions based on natural science.
While ecology takes a holistic approach, environmental protectionmainly involves measures aimed at preserving the basic existence of all living beings. This calls for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. For this reason, nature conservation plays a leading role in ecology as well as in environmental protection. A basic element of environmental protection involves rectifying human-induced damage to the environment. As a result, this requires observing not only the individual parts, but the overall relationships between the parts as well, The term environmental protection first gained attention in the 1970s. One of the primary goals of environmental protection is preserving the human ecosystem. Although preservation of the human ecosystem is a major aspect of environmental protection, technical solutions are still frequently employed. Environmental protection can be divided into several disciplines:
From a global point of view,environmental protection is always related to one of these subdisciplines.
Apart from ecology and environmental protection, an important area is nature conservation. Although environmental protection and nature conservation typically complement one another, there are certain exceptions. In the field of ecology, renewable raw materials such as wood are points of conflict between nature conservation and environmental protection. While nature conservation demands that trees be preserved as long as possible and eventually turned into deadwood for the ecosystem of a variety of animals, environmental protection views wood as a sustainable energy source and raw material. Environmental protection also seeks to avoid the radical deforesting of lands and forests. Within nature conservation there are also initiatives that oppose wind power and small hydropower systems. Under the context of nature conservation, the idea is to impact nature as little as possible. Nature conservation is also a local issue. Nature conservation frequently involves single locations. As it pertains to ecology, nature conservation examines ways to preserve and reestablish a balanced ecosystem. Nature conservation strives toward sustainable human use of our natural environment. Nature conservation is a goal of government and is established in Article 20a of the German constitution. Nature conservation also means the protection of animals and homelands. Many individuals also view nature conservation as important, because they understand the dramatic consequences if society is not actively engaged in nature conservation.
This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.
innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.
Method based on field data performs better than traditional management forecast tools
A powerful method for analyzing and predicting nature's dynamic and interconnected systems is now providing new forecasting and management tools for Canada's...03.03.2015 | Read more
Tigers, lions and other wild carnivores, already under threat from poaching and habitat loss, are falling victim to a virus that could soon drive endangered populations to extinction.
Canine distemper virus strikes wild carnivores of all stripes, including Amur tigers, – also called Siberian tigers – which roam the Russian Far East in...02.03.2015 | Read more
Tropical turtle fossils discovered in Wyoming by University of Florida scientists reveal that when the earth got warmer, prehistoric turtles headed north. But if today’s turtles try the same technique to cope with warming habitats, they might run into trouble.
While the fossil turtle and its kin could move northward with higher temperatures, human pressures and habitat loss could prevent a modern-day migration,...27.02.2015 | Read more
The organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries – and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers led by scientists at McGill University.
Their study, published today in the journal Ecology Letters, represents the first continental-scale examination of historical changes in levels of...27.02.2015 | Read more
With many projects under development in coastal regions such as New England, tidal power -- which extracts "hydrokinetic" energy from marine environments -- seems poised to join other U.S. commercial power sources. A new study finds that little is known of the impacts that tidal power projects may have on coastal environments and the people who depend on them, but that the perspective of "ecosystem services" could provide a promising framework for evaluating impacts.
"Ecosystem services are the benefits provided by functioning ecosystems to people," wrote environmental scientist Heather Leslie, the Peggy and Henry D. Sharpe...27.02.2015 | Read more
Berkeley Lab researchers link rising CO2 levels from fossil fuels to an upward trend in radiative forcing at two locations
Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface for the first time. The researchers, led by scientists from...26.02.2015 | Read more
Rising soil temperatures significantly affect autumn leaves and consequently the food web, appearance and biochemical makeup of the lakes and ponds those leaves fall into, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.
The study is one of the first to rigorously explore climate warming's impact on "ecological subsidies," or the exchange of nutrients and organisms between...26.02.2015 | Read more
Streams within approx. 40% of the global land surface are at risk from the application of insecticides. These were the results from the first global map to be modelled on insecticide runoff to surface waters, which has just been published in the journal Environmental Pollution by researchers from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Koblenz-Landau together with the University of Milan, Aarhus University and Aachen University. According to the publication, particularly streams in the Mediterranean, the USA, Central America and Southeast Asia are at risk.
Unlike other chemicals, agricultural pesticides are intentionally applied to the environment to help farmers control insects, weeds and other potentially...25.02.2015 | Read more
Supporters can save Madagascars lemurs and combat climate change with a single click
Carbon credits from WCS’s Makira Natural Park Project in Madagascar are now available through the Stand for Trees campaign, an online carbon sales platform...24.02.2015 | Read more
In a recent study, scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), demonstrate for the first time that ocean acidification could have negative impacts on diatoms in the Southern Ocean. In laboratory tests they were able to observe that under changing light conditions, diatoms grow more slowly in acidic water.
In so doing, Dr Clara Hoppe and her team have overturned the widely held assumption that sinking pH values would stimulate the growth of these unicellular...24.02.2015 | Read more
A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of Cornell University researchers.
Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh,...
On the search for high performance materials for applications such as gas storage, thermal insulators or dynamic nanosystems it is essential to understand the...
Geysers like Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park erupt periodically because of loops or side-chambers in their underground plumbing, according to recent...
In various industries such as automotive industry, aircraft or steel construction failures in the final product can quickly lead to malfunction and, as a result, can massively compromise the operational reliability. Thus, nondestructive testing methods will play a key role in the quality assurance because they allow to inspect components and parts without destroying them.
From 10 to 12 March 2015, at the JEC Europe in Paris, engineers of Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will introduce a novel procedure which enables noncontact and...
The coating of foils, the printing of labels or the gluing of electronic components are very different and demanding applications. They all require innovative production processes to remain nice to look at, durable and scratch-proof. Heraeus Noblelight infrared and UV systems increase production speed and improve the quality of the drying process.
Easy retrofitting at a paper coating line
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