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.
Anglers across the nation wondering why luck at their favorite fishing spot seems to have dried up may have a surprising culprit: a mine miles away, even in a different state.
Scientists at Michigan State University (MSU) have taken a first broad look at the impacts of mines across the country- and found that mining can damage fish...26.11.2014 | Read more
Sixty years ago, the plows ended their reign and the fields were allowed to return to nature -- allowed to become the woodland forests they once were.
But even now, the ghosts of land-use past haunt these woods. New research by Philip Hahn and John Orrock at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the recovery...25.11.2014 | Read more
Coral reefs persist in a balance between reef construction and reef breakdown. As corals grow, they construct the complex calcium carbonate framework that provides habitat for fish and other reef organisms.
Simultaneously, bioeroders, such as parrotfish and boring marine worms, breakdown the reef structure into rubble and the sand that nourishes our beaches. For...25.11.2014 | Read more
Study says leopards stay surprisingly close to homes
Using ocean observations and a large suite of climate models, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have found that long-term salinity changes have a stronger influence on regional sea level changes than previously thought.
“By using long-term observed estimates of ocean salinity and temperature changes across the globe, and contrasting these with model simulations, we have...21.11.2014 | Read more
A study just published by Point Blue Conservation Science shows the benefits of an aggressive approach to restoring Sierra Nevada aspen stands (Populus tremuloides).
Most of the aspen stands that dotted the Sierra Nevada less than a century ago are gone or in poor health. Aspen stands can increase groundwater, enrich soils...21.11.2014 | Read more
Each year, the planet balances its budget. The carbon dioxide absorbed by plants in the spring and summer as they convert solar energy into food is released back to the atmosphere in autumn and winter. Levels of the greenhouse gas fall, only to rise again.
But the budget has gotten bigger. Over the last five decades, the magnitude of this rise and fall has grown nearly 50 percent in the Northern Hemisphere, as...20.11.2014 | Read more
Advanced statistical methods used in study increase previous population estimates
In the 1970s, ecologists published results from one of the first whole-forest ecosystem studies ever conducted in Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire. In the paper,...19.11.2014 | Read more
Virus' extensive geographic range and number of species infected might make it largest known marine wildlife disease to date
Museum biological collections are the records of life on Earth and as such, they are frequently used to investigate serious environmental issues. When public...18.11.2014 | Read more
Plants all over the world are more sensitive to drought than many experts realized, according to a new study by scientists at UCLA and China's Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden.
The research will improve predictions of which plant species will survive the increasingly intense droughts associated with global climate change.14.11.2014 | Read more
Physicists at the University of Kansas have fabricated an innovative substance from two different atomic sheets that interlock much like Lego toy bricks. The...
Physicists at the University of Basel have developed a new cooling technique for mechanical quantum systems. Using an ultracold atomic gas, the vibrations of a membrane were cooled down to less than 1 degree above absolute zero. This technique may enable novel studies of quantum physics and precision measurement devices, as the researchers report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Ultracold atomic gases are among the coldest objects in existence. Laser beams can be used to trap atoms inside a vacuum chamber and slow down their motion to...
Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago.
According to this new interpretation, the CO2 – released during the onset of the Bølling/Allerød warm period – presumably had their origin in thawing Arctic...
Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.
Scientists have long known that volcanoes can cool the atmosphere, mainly by means of sulfur dioxide gas that eruptions expel. Droplets of sulfuric acid that...
For the first time, scientists have vividly mapped the shapes and textures of high-order modes of Brownian motions--in this case, the collective macroscopic movement of molecules in microdisk resonators--researchers at Case Western Reserve University report.
The new technology holds promise for multimodal sensing and signal processing, and to develop optical coding for computing and other information-processing...
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