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.
Study warns that all seven species of marine turtle can ingest or become entangled in discarded plastic debris
A new global review led by the University of Exeter that set out to investigate the hazards of marine plastic pollution has warned that all seven species of...09.10.2015 | Read more
Bleaching intensifies in Hawaii, high ocean temperatures threaten Caribbean corals
As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the...08.10.2015 | Read more
Brazil’s public authorities regularly publish “blacklists” of municipalities with high illegal deforestation rates. This environmental policy tool is working: scientists at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the Institute for Food and Resource Economics (ILR) at the University of Bonn have found that the public shaming strategy reduced Amazon forest loss in the blacklisted districts by 26% per year. Their findings have now been published in the journal “PLOS ONE”.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has declined recently. While in 2004, trees were still being felled on more than 27,000 square kilometers of land, the...24.09.2015 | Read more
In a new study, scientists from the ZMT have noted significant changes in the calcareous skeleton of the alga Halimeda as a result of a more acidic water environment. These may have an impact on the formation of tropical beaches and islands, as the calcareous structures of Halimeda are an important component of their sediments.
The acidification of the oceans is increasing inexorably. In particular, marine organisms with calcareous skeletons such as sea shells, corals or calcareous...22.09.2015 | Read more
The first true three-dimensional picture of submarine canyon habitats has been produced using a unique combination of marine robotics and ship-based measurements. The information captured in this new set of maps ranges in scale from the 200km canyon down to the size of an individual cold-water coral polyp, and will be used to inform the management of the only English Marine Conservation Zone in deep water.
This 'nested map' is the result of a recent scientific expedition to the Whittard Canyon in the Bay of Biscay, led by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC)....17.09.2015 | Read more
An outright ban on the common use of plastic "microbeads" from products that enter wastewater is the best way to protect water quality, wildlife, and resources used by people, a group of conservation scientists suggest in a new analysis.
These microbeads are one part of the microplastic problem in oceans, freshwater lakes and rivers, but are a special concern because in many products they are...17.09.2015 | Read more
Under the leadership of Fraunhofer IGB and on the basis of a detailed review of the current situation, the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt Innovation Network is developing an innovation strategy to make the Georgian capital Tbilisi more sustainable. A precise roadmap indicating the path towards a city that is viable for the future will be available in ten months.
20 cities from Germany and Europe applied for the Morgenstadt City Challenge”; they had formulated clear objectives with the aim of achieving greater...17.09.2015 | Read more
Reefs containing more than 600 kilograms per hectare of fish biomass should be conservation priorities
A new study by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has found that coral reef diversity 'hotspots' in the southwestern Indian Ocean rely more on the biomass of...03.09.2015 | Read more
A new study inspired by a working group at NCEAS estimates that almost all seabirds have eaten plastic
Plastic debris in the ocean has been an environmental issue for almost half a century. Now, for the first time, scientists can predict the global impact of...01.09.2015 | Read more
January 2014 saw the launch of one of Europe’s largest species conservation projects. The project’s aim is to reintroduce the northern bald ibis, a species of migratory bird, to Europe by the year 2019. Veterinarians from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, make sure the animals are fit for their journey to the south. 31 hand-raised northern bald ibises are healthy and will begin their migration coming Saturday, following an ultralight aircraft towards Tuscany. Other 17 juvenile birds raised by their parents will follow experienced adult birds.
The northern bald ibis was native to Central Europe until the 17th century. Due to extensive hunting, this strange-looking migratory bird completely...21.08.2015 | Read more
Having a light touch can make a hefty difference in how well animals and robots move across challenging granular surfaces such as snow, sand and leaf litter. Research reported October 9 in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics shows how the design of appendages – whether legs or wheels – affects the ability of both robots and animals to cross weak and flowing surfaces.
Using an air fluidized bed trackway filled with poppy seeds or glass spheres, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology systematically varied the...
Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.
To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...
The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.
As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...
Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.
Inspired by insects
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...
01.10.2015 | Event News
30.09.2015 | Event News
17.09.2015 | Event News
12.10.2015 | Press release
12.10.2015 | Press release
12.10.2015 | Physics and Astronomy