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.
Carbon nanotubes remain attached to materials for years while titanium dioxide and nanozinc are rapidly washed out of cosmetics and accumulate in the ground. Researchers from the National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64) have developed a new model to track the flow of the most important nanomaterials in the environment.
How many man-made nanoparticles make their way into the air, earth or water? In order to assess these amounts, a group of researchers led by Bernd Nowack from...12.05.2016 | Read more
Evolutionary changes could lead to reduced fishery yields. A new IIASA study shows how alternative management practices could mitigate the problem in a key North Sea fishery.
North Sea plaice is the most commonly fished flatfish in Europe, with landings of around 120 000 tons per year. But if current trends continue, evolutionary...27.04.2016 | Read more
BMBF starts German-Indian ideas competition on waste disposal in India / Submit ideas online at http://www.innovationskraftwerk.de by 10 June 2016.
The Indian economy is growing rapidly – and with it the mountains of refuse. The increasing volume of waste is placing enormous stress on the population, the...27.04.2016 | Read more
Bulkheads and seawalls along the shores of Puget Sound help ease erosion and stabilize bluffs to protect waterfront properties.
But these walled structures also shrink beaches, reduce habitat for invertebrates and spawning fish and, indirectly, degrade conditions for iconic species like...20.04.2016 | Read more
Fruit odor may have evolved to advertise ripeness to seed-dispersing primates
Fruits are a highly valuable source of food. They are packed with tasty and healthy nutrients and are often characterized by alluring colorful displays and an...13.04.2016 | Read more
Pilot project CarboCount
The signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol and the new Paris Agreement have committed to reduce global warming. The countries themselves use estimates and...23.03.2016 | Read more
Large, severe fires in the West followed by increasing drought conditions as the planet warms are leading to lower tree densities and increased patchiness in high-elevation forests, according to a new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder.
For the study the team looked at nearly 200 subalpine forest plots that had undergone severe fires between 1994 and 2003 in and around Yellowstone National...22.03.2016 | Read more
Mistakes can happen when estimating emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation have developed a method to independently validate national statistics.
The signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol and the new Paris Agreement have committed to reduce global warming. The countries themselves use estimates and...22.03.2016 | Read more
UM Rosenstiel School researchers evaluated movements of highly mobile sharks in relation to protected areas
Researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science published new findings that suggest the expansion of protected...16.03.2016 | Read more
In the past two decades, water frogs have spread rapidly in Central Europe. Using a new statistical model, researchers from the University of Basel were now able to show that local species such as the Yellow-bellied Toad and the Common Midwife Toad are suffering from the more dominant water frogs. The journal American Naturalist has published their results.
The composition of species communities can change considerably over time, often due to human influences. Even though these changes have led to the decline of...29.02.2016 | Read more
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
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24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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24.04.2017 | Life Sciences