Ecology

Ecology is the study of a community of biota, including the interactions with abiotic factors such as soils, water, and meteorological factors. The field of ecology addresses interactions of plants and animals including feeding behavior, selection of nesting or denning sites and competition among species. Time changes are particularly important, such as landscape changes arising from plant succession. Conservation of habitats is analyzed in order to determine the viability of not only individual species, but of the entire assemblage of flora, fauna and micro-organisms in a given ecosystem.

  • Review: Forest restoration Featured Article Review: Forest restoration Review: Forest restoration

    This Review, written by Raf Aerts and Olivier Honnay*, appeared first in BioMed Central Ecology—a peer-reviewed, open access journal. This review article is part of the... More »

  • Orangutan Featured Article Orangutan Orangutan

    The largest of the Asian primates, the orangutan, belongs to the Hominidae (or Great Apes) family whose members also include humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.  While fossil... More »

  • Arctic marine environments Featured Article Arctic marine environments Arctic marine environments

    This is Section 10.2.1 of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Lead Author: Michael B. Usher; Contributing Authors:Terry V. Callaghan, Grant Gilchrist, Bill Heal, Glenn P.... More »

  • Habitat fragmentation Featured Article Habitat fragmentation Habitat fragmentation

    Habitat fragmentation involves alteration of habitat resulting in spatial separation of habitat units from a previous state of greater continuity. ... More »

  • Terrestrial biome Featured Article Terrestrial biome Terrestrial biome

    Introduction Many places on Earth share similar climatic conditions despite being found in geographically different areas. As a result of natural selection, comparable... More »

  • Virus Featured Article Virus Virus

    A virus is a microscopic organism that can replicate only inside the cells of a host organism. Most viruses are so tiny they are only observable with at least a conventional... More »

  • Europa Island Featured Article Europa Island Europa Island

    Europa Island located in the southern Mozambique Channel, between Madagascar and Mozambique. Europa Island is about 100 kilometers (km) southeast of Bassas da... More »

  • Mojave Desert Featured Article Mojave Desert Mojave Desert

    WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Mojave Desert is the smallest of the four North American deserts. While the Mojave lies between the... More »

  • Cheetah Featured Article Cheetah Cheetah

    The Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is a vulnerable species within the cat family. While the fastest land animal and an adept hunter, this felid is not agressive... More »

Recently Updated
Biodiversity Last Updated on 2014-09-15 23:53:05 The word "biodiversity" is a contracted version of "biological diversity". The Convention on Biological Diversity defines biodiversity as:"the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems."  Thus, biodiversity includes genetic variation within species, the variety of species in an area, and the variety of habitat types within a landscape. Perhaps inevitably, such an all-encompassing definition, together with the strong emotive power of the concept, has led to somewhat cavalier use of the term biodiversity, in extreme cases to refer to life or biology itself. But biodiversity properly refers to the variety of living... More »
Sundarbans National Park, India Last Updated on 2014-09-09 11:56:45 Sundarbans National Park (21°31'-21°53'N, 88°37'-89°09'E) is a World Heritage Site that lies southeast of Calcutta in the 24-Paraganas District of West Bengal and forms part of the Gangetic Delta, which borders on the Bay of Bengal. Consists of Matla, Goashaba, Chhotahardi, Mayadwip, Chamta, Gona and Baghmara forest blocks, which are bounded by the Matla/Bidya and Haribhanga/Raimangal rivers to the east and west, respectively. The northern boundary is buffered by Netidhopani and Chandkhali forest blocks. Established as a national park on 4 May 1984 (Notification No. 2867-For). Previously created a wildlife sanctuary in 1977, having been designated as the core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in December 1973. All forest in 24-Paraganas District was first notified as protected forest on 7 December 1878. Much of this was subsequently leased out by... More »
Reptile Last Updated on 2014-09-09 11:10:24 Reptiles do not form a distinct evolutionary group as birds and mammals do. Rather, the Class Reptilia consists of four orders which are very different from each other. For example, lizards are more closely related to birds than to turtles! As a result, reptiles are as easily defined by what they aren't as by what they are. As opposed to mammals and birds, reptiles have neither fur nor feathers, but scales. Reptiles can not be confused with amphibians because reptiles have dry, water-proof skin and eggs, as well as internal fertilization and more advanced circulatory, respiratory, excretory, and nervous systems. Reptiles evolved from labyrinthodont amphibians 300 million years ago. The success of this terrestrial vertebrate group is due in large part to the evolution of shelled, large-yolked eggs in which the embryo has an independent water supply. This advance, as... More »
Amphibian Last Updated on 2014-09-09 10:57:59 The term amphibian comes from the Greek amphibios meaning "both lives". This is an apt description because most adult amphibians are better adapted to life on land than in water, while their larval phases are entirely aquatic. For much of their lives, which may last a couple of months or several years depending on the species, larval amphibians bear little resemblance to their adult forms. Then something miraculous happens. In a matter of weeks or even days, the once fish-like larvae metamorphose into terrestrial, air-breathing quadrupeds! There are three extant orders in the Class Amphibia: Anura (frogs and toads), Caudata (salamanders), and Apoda (caecilians). The order Anura has the most extant species, with 4000 members worldwide. Of Caudata, 390 salamander species exist worldwide. The third amphibian group, the caecilians, is smaller still with a total of only 162... More »
Mutualism Last Updated on 2014-09-09 10:48:53 Mutualisms are ecological interactions between two species in which both benefit. Many mutualisms involve species living closely together (symbiosis); a species may be so dependent that it cannot live without its mutualistic partner (obligate mutualism). In other cases, a species can interact mutualistically with more than one partner (diffuse mutualism) or even live without its partner(s) under certain conditions (facultative mutualism). Although all species involved in a mutualistic relationship contribute to the partnership, we still expect each species to be "selfish" and to evolve traits that provide the maximum possible fitness benefit while minimizing cost. 1. Trophic mutualisms are interactions in which both species receive a benefit of resources. Organisms require both nutrients and energy to survive. In many trophic mutualisms, a plant provides energy... More »