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The Ecology Portal

Plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3700 m) elevation
Earth flag PD.jpg

Ecology, or 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).[1][2][3][4]


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Biogradska suma.jpg
Pictured left: Old-growth European Beech forest in Biogradska Gora National Park, Montenegro

Forest ecology is the scientific study of the interrelated patterns, processes, flora, fauna and ecosystems in forests. The management of forests is known as forestry, silviculture, and forest management. A forest ecosystem is a natural woodland unit consisting of all plants, animals and micro-organisms (Biotic components) in that area functioning together with all of the non-living physical (abiotic) factors of the environment.[5] Forest ecology is one branch of a biotically-oriented classification of types of ecological study (as opposed to a classification based on organizational level or complexity, for example population or community ecology). Forest ecology studies share characteristics and methodological approaches with other areas of terrestrial plant ecology. However, the presence of trees makes forest ecosystems and their study unique in numerous ways.

Forests are often highly heterogeneous environments compared to other terrestrial plant communities. This heterogeneity in turn can enable great biodiversity of species of both plants and animals. It also affects the design of forest inventory sampling strategies, the results of which are sometimes used in ecological studies. A number of factors within the forest affect biodiversity; primary factors enhancing wildlife abundance and biodiversity are the presence of diverse tree species within the forest and the absence of even aged timber management.

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Lightnings sequence 2 animation.gif

Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge (spark) accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms.[6]

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b. September 14, 1856 – d. February 25, 1953

Sergei Nikolaievich Winogradsky (or Vinogradskyi; Ukrainian: Сергій Миколайович Виноградський, Russian: Сергей Николаевич Виноградский) was a Ukrainian-Russian microbiologist, ecologist and soil scientist who pioneered the cycle of life concept. He discovered the first known form of lithotrophy during his research with Beggiatoa in 1887. He reported in Winogradsky S (1887). "Über Schwefelbakterien". Bot. Zeitung (45): 489–610.  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.[7]

Winogradsky is best known for discovering chemoautotrophy, which soon became popularly known as chemosynthesis, the process by which organisms derive energy from a number of different inorganic compounds and obtain carbon in the form of carbon dioxide.

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Ecology news

Did you know...

BlueMarble monthlies animation.gif
...by astronomical convention, the four seasons are determined by the solstices—the point in the orbit of maximum axial tilt of the Earth toward or away from the Sun—and the equinoxes, when the direction of the tilt and the direction to the Sun are perpendicular?

(Pictured left: Animation of seasonal differences, particularly snow cover throughout the year)

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We’re never going to have respectful and reverential relationships with the planet — and sensible policies about what we put in the air, the soil, the water — if very young children don’t begin learning about these things literally in their houses, backyards, streets and schools. We need to have human beings who are oriented that way from their earliest memories.
— Elise Boulding
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Ibis, subtitled the International Journal of Avian Science, is the peer-reviewedscientific journalof the British Ornithologists' Union. Topics covered include ecology, conservation, behaviour, palaeontology, and taxonomyof birds. It's available for free on the internet for institutions in the developing world through the OARE scheme (Online Access to Research in the Environment).[8]
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Related WikiProjects

WikiProjects connected with ecology:

  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Ecology
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Ecoregions
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Extinction

Ecology topics


Subcategories of Ecology:
Agronomy - Aquatic ecology - Atmosphere - Behavioral ecology - Biodegradable materials - Biodiversity - Biogeography - Biomes - Biota - British National Vegetation Classification - Ecological experiments - Ecologists - Ecology journals - Ecoregions - Ecozones - Extinction - Indicator species - Insect ecology - Invasive species - Natural history - Nitrogen metabolism - Parasitism - Parasitology - Pheromones - Superorganisms - Symbiosis - Terrestrial biomes - Toxicology - Tropism

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Environment - Ecotourism - Nature reserves - Natural resources

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Ecology lists

  • Category: Ecology lists
  • Category: Nature-related lists
  • Global 200, list of ecoregions to conserve, by the WWF
  • Glossary of ecology
  • Index of biology articles
  • Index of conservation articles
  • Index of environmental articles
  • Introduced species in the British Isles
  • IUCN Red List of extinct species
  • List of clinically important bacteria




  • List of marine biologists
  • List of marine ecoregions (WWF)

Invasive species

  • Lists of invasive species
  • List of invasive species in Africa
  • List of invasive species in Asia
  • List of invasive species in Australia

Associated Wikimedia

Ecology on Wikibooks  Ecology on Wikimedia Commons Ecology on Wikinews  Ecology on Wikiquote  Ecology on Wikisource  Ecology on Wikiversity  Ecology on Wiktionary 
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  1. ^ Omerod, S.J.; Pienkowski, M.W.; Watkinson, A.R. (1999). "Communicating the value of ecology". Journal of Applied Ecology 36 (6): 847–855. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00474.x. 
  2. ^ Phillipson, J.; Lowe, P.; Bullock, J.M. (2009). "Navigating the social sciences: interdisciplinarity and ecology". Journal of Applied Ecology 46 (2): 261–4. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01625.x. 
  3. ^ Pickett, Steward T. A. et al. (2008). "Beyond Urban Legends: An Emerging Framework of Urban Ecology, as Illustrated by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study". BioScience 58 (2): 139–150. doi:10.1641/B580208. 
  4. ^ Aguirre, A.A. (2009). "Biodiversity and Human Health". EcoHealth 6: 153. doi:10.1007/s10393-009-0242-0. 
  5. ^ Robert W. Christopherson. 1996
  6. ^ NGDC - NOAA. "Volcanic Lightning". National Geophysical Data Center - NOAA. http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/hazard/stratoguide/galunfeat.html. Retrieved September 21, 2007. 
  7. ^ Dworkin, Martin; Falkow, Stanley (2006). The Prokaryotes: A Handbook on the Biology of Bacteria: Proteobacteria: Gamma Subclass (3rd ed.). Springer. p. 784. ISBN 9780387254968. http://www.springerlink.com/content/r21k000qn714j380/. 
  8. ^ "Ibis News". Wiley Interscience. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291474-919X/homepage/News.html. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
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