Portal:Ecology

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Unique plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3,700 metre) elevation)
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Ecology, also referred to as ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as solar insolation, climate and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat. The term Ökologie was coined in 1866 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel; the word is derived from the Greek οικος (oikos, "household") and λόγος (logos, "study"); therefore "ecology" means the "study of the household (of nature)".

Ecology is also a human science. There are many practical applications of ecology in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agriculture, forestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science and human social interaction (human ecology)

(Pictured left: Unique plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3,700 metre) elevation)

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Animated global map of monthly long term mean surface air temperature (Mollweide projection)
Pictured left: Animated global map of monthly long term mean surface air temperature (Mollweide projection)

Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods. A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: Atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, land surface, and biosphere.

The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. Climates can be classified according to the average and the typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and precipitation. The most commonly used classification scheme was originally developed by Wladimir Köppen. The Thornthwaite system, in use since 1948, incorporates evapotranspiration along with temperature and precipitation information and is used in studying animal species diversity and potential effects of climate changes. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems focus on the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region.

There are several ways to classify climates into similar regimes. Modern climate classification methods can be broadly divided into genetic methods, which focus on the causes of climate, and empiric methods, which focus on the effects of climate. Examples of genetic classification include methods based on the relative frequency of different air mass types or locations within synoptic weather disturbances. Examples of empiric classifications include climate zones defined by plant hardiness, evapotranspiration, or more generally the Köppen climate classification which was originally designed to identify the climates associated with certain biomes. A common shortcoming of these classification schemes is that they produce distinct boundaries between the zones they define, rather than the gradual transition of climate properties more common in nature.

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Pangea animation 03.gif
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

An animation of the Earth's hypothesized Pangaea separation. Pangaea is hypothesized as a supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the component continents were separated into their current configuration.

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Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

Carson began her career as a biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her financial security and recognition as a gifted writer. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the republished version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. Together, her sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life, from the shores to the surface to the deep sea.

In early 1953, Carson began library and field research on the ecology and organisms of the Atlantic shore. In 1955, she completed the third volume of her sea trilogy, The Edge of the Sea, which focuses on life in coastal ecosystems (particularly along the Eastern Seaboard). It appeared in The New Yorker in two condensed installments shortly before the October 26 book release. By this time, Carson's reputation for clear and poetical prose was well established; The Edge of the Sea received highly favorable reviews, if not quite as enthusiastic as for The Sea Around Us.

Starting in the mid-1940s, Carson had become concerned about the use of synthetic pesticides, many of which had been developed through the military funding of science since World War II. It was the USDA's 1957 fire ant eradication program, however, that prompted Carson to devote her research, and her next book, to pesticides and environmental poisons. The fire ant program involved aerial spraying of DDT and other pesticides (mixed with fuel oil), including the spraying of private land. Landowners in Long Island filed a suit to have the spraying stopped, and many in affected regions followed the case closely. Though the suit was lost, the Supreme Court granted petitioners the right to gain injunctions against potential environmental damage in the future; this laid the basis for later successful environmental actions.

Silent Spring was written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on 27 September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement.

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IndustrialSymbiosisWasteHeatExchange.png
...industrial Ecology is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems? The global industrial economy can be modeled as a network of industrial processes that extract resources from the Earth and transform those resources into commodities which can be bought and sold to meet the needs of humanity.
(Pictured left: Example of Industrial Symbiosis. Waste steam from a waste incinerator (right) is piped to an ethanol plant (left) where it is used as in input to their production process.)
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From the Wikinews Environment portal
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A land ethic for tomorrow should be as honest as Thoreau's Walden, and as comprehensive as the sensitive science of ecology. It should stress the oneness of our resources and the live-and-help-live logic of the great chain of life.
— Stewart Udall

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The International Journal of Plant Sciencescovers botanicalresearch including geneticsand genomics, developmental and cell biology, biochemistryand physiology, morphologyand structure, systematics, plant-microbe interactions, paleobotany, evolution, and ecology. The journal also regularly publishes important symposium proceedings.
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WikiProject Ecology



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The following Wikimedia sister projects provide more on this subject:
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