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.
The conversion of forests, grasslands, shrublands and wetlands to cropland over the course of three centuries profoundly changed the surface of the Earth and the carbon cycle of the terrestrial ecosystem in Northeast China.
In a new study published in the Beijing-based journal SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences, a team of researchers from Beijing Normal University, Nanjing University of...30.09.2014 | Read more
Scientists estimate that fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish remain in their Mojave Desert home, but a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, is giving important guidance in the efforts to rescue them by establishing a captive breeding program.
Considered the world’s rarest fish, with one of the smallest geographic ranges of any wild vertebrate, the tiny pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) – about one-inch...29.09.2014 | Read more
Two Kansas State University biologists are studying streams to prevent tallgrass prairies from turning into shrublands and forests.
By looking at 25 years of data on the Konza Prairie Biological Station, Allison Veach, doctoral student in biology, Muncie, Indiana, and Walter Dodds,...29.09.2014 | Read more
Ancient, acidic and nutrient-depleted dunes in Western Australia are not an obvious place to answer a question that has vexed tropical biologists for decades.
But the Jurien Bay dunes proved to be the perfect site to unravel why plant diversity varies from place to place. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute...26.09.2014 | Read more
Efforts continue to increase population of endangered bird
Four whooping crane chicks raised in captivity began their integration into the wild Saturday as part of the continuing effort to increase the wild population...25.09.2014 | Read more
Over one thousand miles wide and three thousand miles long, the Sargasso Sea occupies almost two thirds of the North Atlantic Ocean. Within the sea, circling ocean currents accumulate mats of Sargassum seaweed that shelter a surprising variety of fishes, snails, crabs, and other small animals.
A recent paper by MBARI researcher Crissy Huffard and others shows that in 2011 and 2012 this animal community was much less diverse than it was in the early...24.09.2014 | Read more
Market for water-quality credits would cut pollution at less cost
Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at lower cost than...24.09.2014 | Read more
Cleaning up oil sands tailings has just gotten a lot greener thanks to a novel technique developed by University of Alberta civil engineering professors that uses solar energy to accelerate tailings pond reclamation efforts by industry.
Instead of using UV lamps as a light source to treat oil sands process affected water (OSPW) retained in tailings ponds, professors Mohamed Gamal El-Din and...24.09.2014 | Read more
Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air — and the soybeans — were still?
22.09.2014 | Read more
Greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of shale gas would be comparable to conventional natural gas, but the controversial energy source actually faired better than renewables on some environmental impacts, according to new research.
The UK holds enough shale gas to supply its entire gas demand for 470 years, promising to solve the country’s energy crisis and end its reliance on fossil-fuel...22.09.2014 | Read more
Physicists at the University of Jena together with colleagues from Imperial College London develop ultra-fast semiconductor nano-lasers
One thousand billion operations per second – this peak value is achieved by semiconductor nano-lasers developed by physicists at the University of Jena...
A new model developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge has shown that despite its apparent stability, the massive ice sheet covering most of Greenland is more sensitive to climate change than earlier estimates have suggested, which would accelerate the rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities worldwide.
In addition to assessing the impact of the increasing levels of meltwater created and spilled into the ocean each year as the climate continues to warm, the...
Fraunhofer FEP works on cost-effective system solutions for flexible devices and presents results at Plastic Electronics 2014
A significant growth is predicted for the market of flexible devices. The topic “Wearables”, namely intelligent, wearable systems with several useful and funny...
Researchers have developed a chip capable of simulating a tumor's "microenvironment" and plan to use the new system to test the effectiveness of nanoparticles and drugs that target cancer.
The new system, called a tumor-microenvironment-on-chip (T-MOC) device, will allow researchers to study the complex environment surrounding tumors and the...
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