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Ecology

Ecology (from Ancient Greek οἶκος (oîkos) 'house', and -λογία (-logía) 'study of') is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overlaps with the closely related sciences of biogeography, evolutionary biology, genetics, ethology, and natural history. Ecology is a branch of biology, and it is not synonymous with environmentalism.

Among other things, ecology is the study of:

  • The abundance, biomass, and distribution of organisms in the context of the environment
  • Life processes, antifragility, interactions, and adaptations
  • The movement of materials and energy through living communities
  • The successional development of ecosystems
  • Cooperation, competition, and predation within and between species
  • Patterns of biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem processes

Ecology has practical applications in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries, mining, tourism), urban planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology).

The word ecology (German: Ökologie) was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel. The science of ecology as we know it today began with a group of American botanists in the 1890s. Evolutionary concepts relating to adaptation and natural selection are cornerstones of modern ecological theory.

Ecosystems are dynamically interacting systems of organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living (abiotic) components of their environment. Ecosystem processes, such as primary production, nutrient cycling, and niche construction, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. Ecosystems have biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and abiotic components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and provide ecosystem services like biomass production (food, fuel, fiber, and medicine), the regulation of climate, global biogeochemical cycles, water filtration, soil formation, erosion control, flood protection, and many other natural features of scientific, historical, economic, or intrinsic value. (Full article...)

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Sand dunes in the Sahara Desert
Sand dunes in the Sahara Desert
Desert ecology is the study of interactions between both biotic and abiotic components of desert environments. A desert ecosystem is defined by interactions between organisms, the climate in which they live, and any other non-living influences on the habitat. Deserts are arid regions that are generally associated with warm temperatures; however, cold deserts also exist. Deserts can be found in every continent, with the largest deserts located in Antarctica, the Arctic, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. (Full article...)
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Credit: Composite image created by User:Medeis
There are many diverse animal species on the planet.

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Nature, in the broadest sense, is the physical world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.

The word nature is borrowed from the Old French nature and is derived from the Latin word natura, or "essential qualities, innate disposition", and in ancient times, literally meant "birth". In ancient philosophy, natura is mostly used as the Latin translation of the Greek word physis (φύσις), which originally related to the intrinsic characteristics of plants, animals, and other features of the world to develop of their own accord.

The concept of nature as a whole, the physical universe, is one of several expansions of the original notion; it began with certain core applications of the word φύσις by pre-Socratic philosophers (though this word had a dynamic dimension then, especially for Heraclitus), and has steadily gained currency ever since. (Full article...)

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Sergei Nikolaievich Winogradsky ForMemRS (or Vinohradsky; published under the name of Sergius Winogradsky or M. S. Winogradsky from Ukrainian Mykolayovych Serhiy; Ukrainian: Сергій Миколайович Виноградський; 1 September 1856 – 25 February 1953) was a Ukrainian microbiologist, ecologist and soil scientist who pioneered the cycle-of-life concept. Winogradsky discovered the first known form of lithotrophy during his research with Beggiatoa in 1887. He reported that Beggiatoa oxidized hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as an energy source and formed intracellular sulfur droplets. This research provided the first example of lithotrophy, but not autotrophy.

His research on nitrifying bacteria would report the first known form of chemoautotrophy, showing how a lithotroph fixes carbon dioxide (CO2) to make organic compounds. (Full article...)

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We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well—for we will not fight to save what we do not love.
— Al Gore

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Oecologia is an international peer-reviewed English-language journal published by Springer. The journal publishes original research in a range of topics related to plant and animal ecology.

The journal has an international focus and presents original papers, methods, reviews and special topics. Papers focus on population ecology, plant-animal interactions, ecosystem ecology, community ecology, global change ecology, conservation ecology, behavioral ecology and physiological ecology. (Full article...)

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... marine ecosystems are among the largest of Earth's aquatic ecosystems? They include oceans, salt marsh and intertidal ecology, estuaries and lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs, the deep sea and the sea floor. They can be contrasted with freshwater ecosystems, which have a lower salt content. (Pictured left: Coral reefs form complex marine ecosystems with tremendous biodiversity.)

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