Portal:Ecology

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Ecology
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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New beech leaves, Grib Forest in the northern part of Denmark
Pictured left: New beech leaves, Grib Forest in the northern part of Denmark

The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species. The natural environment is contrasted with the built environment, which comprises the areas and components that are strongly influenced by humans. A geographical area is regarded as a natural environment. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished by components:

Earth science generally recognizes 4 spheres, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere as correspondent to rocks, water, air, and life. Some scientists include, as part of the spheres of the Earth, the cryosphere (corresponding to ice) as a distinct portion of the hydrosphere, as well as the pedosphere (corresponding to soil) as an active and intermixed sphere. Earth science (also known as geoscience, the geosciences or the Earth Sciences), is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. There are four major disciplines in earth sciences, namely geography, geology, geophysics and geodesy. These major disciplines use physics, chemistry, biology, chronology and mathematics to build a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the principal areas or spheres of the Earth system.

Biomes are terminologically similar to the concept of ecosystems, and are climatically and geographically defined areas of ecologically similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, often referred to as ecosystems. Biomes are defined on the basis of factors such as plant structures (such as trees, shrubs, and grasses), leaf types (such as broadleaf and needleleaf), plant spacing (forest, woodland, savanna), and climate. Unlike ecozones, biomes are not defined by genetic, taxonomic, or historical similarities. Biomes are often identified with particular patterns of ecological succession and climax vegetation.

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Paddlefish Polyodon spathula.jpg
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Drawing of an American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula). Also called the Mississippi paddlefish or spoonbill, they live in slow-flowing waters of the Mississippi River drainage system and may grow to 7 feet (220 cm) and weigh up to 220 pounds (100 kg). They appear to have been extirpated from Lake Erie and its tributaries.

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Aziz Ab'Saber.jpg
Aziz Nacib Ab'Sáber (born October 24, 1924) is an environmentalist and one of Brazil´s most respected scientists, honored with the highest awards of Brazilian science in geography, geology, ecology and archaeology. Graduated in geography, he is a former president and current honororary president of the SBPC (Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science), Emeritus Professor of the University of São Paulo and member of the highest rank - Order Grão-Cruz in Earth Sciences - of the Academy of Science.

The contributions of Ab`Saber to science range from the first research of oil camps in Brazil's northeast to surveys of Brazil's natural realms and the restoration of the history of forests, camps and primitive humans over geologic time in South America. He made central contributions to biology, South American archaeology, and to Brazilian ecology, geology and geography.

Ab'Sáber was the first person to classify scientifically the Brazilian and South-America territory in morphoclimatic domains. He also contributed to the "Pleistocene refuge hypothesis", an attempt to explain the distribution of Neotropical taxa as a function of their isolation in forest fragments during glacial periods, which allowed populations to speciate.

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School of Pterocaesio chrysozona in Papua New Guinea 1.jpg
...that scientists estimate approximately 230,000 ocean species are currently known, but the total could be up to 10 times that number?

(Pictured left: A school of Goldband fusilier (Pterocaesio chrysozona) in Papua, New Guinea.)

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From the Wikinews Environment portal
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The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.
Theodore Roosevelt
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Ecologyis a scientific journalpublishing research and synthesis papers in the field of ecology. It was founded in 1920, and is published by the Ecological Society of America.
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