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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A White-spotted puffer being cleaned by a bluestreak cleaner wrasse
Pictured left: A White-spotted puffer being cleaned by a bluestreak cleaner wrasse

Cleaner fish are fish that provide a service to other fish species by removing dead skin and ectoparasites. This is an example of mutualism, an ecological interaction that benefits both parties involved. A wide variety of fishes have been observed to display cleaning behaviors including wrasses, cichlids, catfish, and gobies, as well as by a number of different species of cleaner shrimp. There is also at least one predatory mimic, the sabre-toothed blenny, that mimics cleaner fish but in fact feeds on healthy scales and mucous.

The best known cleaner fish are the cleaner wrasses of the genus Labroides found on coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. These small fish maintain so-called cleaning stations where other fish, known as hosts, will congregate and perform specific movements to attract the attention of the cleaner fish. Remarkably, these small cleaner fish will safely clean large predatory fish that would otherwise eat small fish such as these. Cleaner wrasses appear to get almost all their nutrition through this cleaning service, and when maintained in aquaria rarely survive for long because they cannot obtain enough to eat.

Cleaning behaviors have been observed in a number of other fish groups. Neon gobies of the genera Gobiosoma and Elacatinus provide a cleaning service similar to the cleaner wrasses, though this time on reefs in the Western Atlantic, providing a good example of convergent evolution. Unlike the cleaner wrasses, they also eat a variety of small animals as well being cleaner fish, and generally do well in aquaria. However, the Caribbean cleaning goby (Elacatinus evelynae) will gladly eat scales and mucus from the host when the ectoparasites it normally feeds on are scarce, making the relationship somewhat less than mutually beneficial. The symbiosis does not break down because the abundance of these parasites varies significantly seasonally and spacially, and the overall benefit to the larger fish outweighs any cheating on the part of the smaller


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Carbon cycle-cute diagram.jpeg
Credit: NASA

The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Burning fossil fuels leads to the addition of extra carbon into the cycle over what naturally occurs and is a major cause of climate change.

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Edward Smith Deevey, Jr. (December 3, 1914 – November 29, 1988) born in Albany, New York, was a prominent American ecologist and paleolimnologist, and an early protégé of G. Evelyn Hutchinson at Yale University. He was a creative pioneer in several areas, including quantitative palynology, cycling of natural isotopes, biogeochemistry, population dynamics, systematics and ecology of freshwater zooplankton, and he promoted the use of life tables in ecology.


Did you know...

...chemical ecology is the study of the chemicals involved in the interactions of living organisms? It focuses on the production of and response to signaling molecules (i.e. semiochemicals) and toxins.
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With our technologies—ones of incalcuable power: earth-restoring, planet preserving—we can rediscover an intimacy, a mutuality with the natural world, that is not primitive (though based in part on fear), but knowing. It might even be possible to relearn a life of awe. And inhabit the landscape without violation. With the least violation.
— Janet Kauffman

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Boreas is a peer-reviewed academic journal that has been published since 1972. The journal covers all branches of quaternary research, including biological and non-biological aspects of the quaternary environment in both glaciated and non-glaciated areas.

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