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
Amphibian ecology and evolution Last Updated on 2014-07-23 18:38:53 Amphibians are found in ponds, streams, wetlands of all types, under rotten logs, in leaf litter, in trees, underground, even in pools of rain water inside large leaves. However, they are not able to osmoregulate in salt water and, therefore, are not found in the ocean. Although some amphibians defy the rules and thrive in cold or dry conditions, the group reaches its highest diversity and numbers in warm, humid climates.  In the wet tropics, amphibians remain active all year around, but in the temperate zone, winter temperatures cool their bodies, forcing them to become inactive. In the autumn, environmental cues direct amphibians to find moist, sheltered places like muddy pond bottoms or deep leaf litter to hibernate. The wood frog (Rana sylvatica) has the most northerly range of any amphibian, crossing the Arctic circle, into the Mackenzie River valley in the Northwest... More »
Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa Last Updated on 2014-07-10 16:27:07 The Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park (32°06’25’’E to 32°56’46’’E. and 26°51’26’’S to 28°29’07’’S) is a World Heritage Site. There are few comparable protected coastlines within the tropics as pristine as St. Lucia's. The Park is one of the outstanding natural wetland sites of Africa. It lies on a tropical-subtropical interface with a wide range of terrestrial, wetland, estuarine lake, coastal and marine environments, which are scenically beautiful and basically unmodified by people. These include coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and extensive reed and papyrus wetlands, critical habitat for a range of species from Africa's sea, wetlands and savannas. The interaction of these environments with major floods and coastal storms in the Park's transitional... More »
Wetland protection for reptiles and amphibians Last Updated on 2014-07-10 16:08:27 Wetlands serve as critical habitat for many species of amphibians and reptiles, collectively known as herpetofauna, or “herps". Their reliance on wetlands makes herps especially vulnerable to the loss and degradation of wetlands; indeed, global population declines in reptiles and amphibians may be related to changes in the quality and availability of wetland habitat. All amphibians rely on wetlands to some extent. Many species lay gelatinous eggs under water, whereas others, like certain salamanders, lay their eggs on moist land. After hatching, many young amphibians enter an aquatic larval stage, which can last from several days to many months (or even several years, as is the case with the Pacific giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus). On becoming adults, most amphibians adopt a facultatively terrestrial lifestyle, and may use both wetland and upland... More »
International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Last Updated on 2014-07-10 15:54:39 The IUCN is the world's largest conservation organization, bringing together 82 States, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. Also known as the 'World Conservation Union' since 1990, the IUCN is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1,000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland. The IUCN is currently divided into six commissions. These are: a) Ecosystem Management b) Education and Communication c) Environmental, Economic and Social Policy d)... More »
Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland Last Updated on 2014-07-10 15:32:38 Monte San Giorgio (45°55' North and 8°57' East) is a World Heritage Site located in southernmost Switzerland, between the two southern arms of Lake Lugano in the canton of Ticino. The site has been subject to a number of local and regional protective measures. In summary: 1974: The Cantonal legislature decreed Cantonal authorization for and supervision of the search and collection of rocks, minerals and fossils on the mountain; decree amended 1975 and 1995; 1975: Cantonal regulation for the Protection of Flora and Fauna designated the whole mountain a Natural Protection zone; 1977: The entire site was listed on the Swiss Federal Inventories of Landscapes, Sites and Natural Monuments and of Heritage Sites of National Importance, based on articles 5 and 6 of the1966 Federal law on the Protection of Nature and Preservation of Natural Heritage; 1982: The Arzo... More »