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Ecology
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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:

  • 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
  • The abundance, biomass, and distribution of organisms in the context of the environment
  • 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), 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, and it became a rigorous science in the late 19th century. 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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The storage effect is a coexistence mechanism proposed in the ecological theory of species coexistence, which tries to explain how such a wide variety of similar species are able to coexist within the same ecological community or guild. The storage effect was originally proposed in the 1980s to explain coexistence in diverse communities of coral reef fish, however it has since been generalized to cover a variety of ecological communities. The theory proposes one way for multiple species to coexist: in a changing environment, no species can be the best under all conditions. Instead, each species must have a unique response to varying environmental conditions, and a way of buffering against the effects of bad years. The storage effect gets its name because each population "stores" the gains in good years or microhabitats (patches) to help it survive population losses in bad years or patches. One strength of this theory is that, unlike most coexistence mechanisms, the storage effect can be measured and quantified, with units of per-capita growth rate (offspring per adult per generation).

The storage effect can be caused by both temporal and spatial variation. The temporal storage effect (often referred to as simply "the storage effect") occurs when species benefit from changes in year-to-year environmental patterns, while the spatial storage effect occurs when species benefit from variation in microhabitats across a landscape. (Full article...)
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Ocellaris clownfish often live symbiotically with the Heteractis magnifica sea anemone, using them for shelter and protection.

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Modern biology began in the nineteenth century with Charles Darwin's work on evolution by natural selection.

Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations. Charles Darwin popularised the term "natural selection", contrasting it with artificial selection, which in his view is intentional, whereas natural selection is not.

Variation exists within all populations of organisms. This occurs partly because random mutations arise in the genome of an individual organism, and their offspring can inherit such mutations. Throughout the lives of the individuals, their genomes interact with their environments to cause variations in traits. The environment of a genome includes the molecular biology in the cell, other cells, other individuals, populations, species, as well as the abiotic environment. Because individuals with certain variants of the trait tend to survive and reproduce more than individuals with other less successful variants, the population evolves. Other factors affecting reproductive success include sexual selection (now often included in natural selection) and fecundity selection. (Full article...)

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Hanna Kokko (born 1971) is a scientist and full professor at the University of Zurich. She works in the fields of evolution and ecology and is known for her research on the evolution and maintenance of sex, the feedback between ecology and evolution, and the evolutionary ecology of cancer. (Full article...)

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For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.
— Sandra Postel

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The American Naturalist is a monthly scientific journal that was founded in 1867 and is associated with the American Society of Naturalists. It is published by the University of Chicago Press. The journal covers ecology, evolutionary biology, population, and integrative biology research. (Full article...)

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... that in 2006, the United Nations estimated humanity's total ecological footprint to be 1.4 planet Earths? In other words, humanity uses ecological services 1.4 times as fast as Earth can renew them?[1]
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  1. ^ "Data Sources". Global Footprint Network. 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2010-02-05.