Ecology Theory

Ecology theory is the study of interactions among plant, animal, microbial and abiotic factors within an ecosystem.  Elements of this field include genetics, speciation, population dynamics, plant communities and predator/prey dynamics. The processes that relate to genetics include mutation, genetic drift and population bottlenecks. Within the interactions flora and fauna associations there are many types of mathematical models to explain the spatial relations and population dynamics of individual taxa. Besides models that depict the growth and decline, there are more specialized analyses which portray seed dispersal, migration patterns, symbioses and pollination. The abiotic factors of meteorology, soil and water chemistry are also vital in understanding the total ecological community.

The phenomena of autotrophism, herbivory and carnivory are intrinsic to ecology theory, in order to understand the complexity of the food web.  Processes disease transmission and organism decay are further inherent  elements;  further, within the realm of ecology theory are the phenomena of habitat fragmentation, refugia and biological corridors;  these larger scale features address the integrity of entire ecological communities and lead to strategies of conservation biology.  

  • 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... More »

  • Respiration Featured Article Respiration Respiration

    Respiration is the gas exchange effected by living organisms for the purpose of sustaining vital metabolic processes. In the case of most animals, oxygen is taken into the... More »

  • Herbivore Featured Article Herbivore Herbivore

    A herbivore is an animal that obtains its energy and nutrients by feeding on plants.  Different types of herbivores eat different plant parts.  For example, folivores... More »

  • Sunlight Featured Article Sunlight Sunlight

    Sunlight is the electromagnetic radiation arriving at the Earth's surface due to direct illumination by the sun; this radiation includes ultraviolet, visible and... More »

  • Extremophile Featured Article Extremophile Extremophile

    An extremophile is an organism adapted to unusual limits of one or more abiotic factors in the environment. Some of the extreme conditions are temperature, pH, high salinity,... More »

  • Thermal pollution Featured Article Thermal pollution Thermal pollution

    Thermal pollution is the act of altering the temperature of a natural water body, which may be a river, lake or ocean environment. This condition chiefly arises from the... More »

  • Benthos Featured Article Benthos Benthos

    Benthos is one of three major ecological groups into which marine organisms are divided, the other two being the nekton and the plankton. The benthos are organisms and... More »

  • DNA Featured Article DNA DNA

    Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a long chain organic molecule that contains the coding for all metabolic and reproductive processes of all living organisms, save for certain... More »

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Overfishing Last Updated on 2014-12-07 17:22:32 Overfishing is the human act of extracting aquatic (that is, marine and freshwater) fauna from natural water bodies at a rate greater than the reproductive and recruitment functions can replace that extraction. While there is some evidence that localized overfishing may have occurred in prehistoric eras, the bulk of overfishing has taken place in the last 150 years as the human population has expanded greatly and fishing technologies have enabled harvesting of many species at rates not imagined in earlier times. For over a century man's role in the depletion of certain regional fisheries has been noted. A functional definition of overfishing is sometimes given as the reduction in catch per unit effort by fishermen. Typically the concept of overfishing is linked to an individual aquatic species, and this issue is most often discussed within a specific marine or lacustrine province... More »
Biogeography Last Updated on 2014-11-30 22:10:52 Biogeography is the study of the spatial distribution of biological organisms. The scale of analysis ranges from very small micro-topography regimes to continental dimensions. Fundamental concepts in this field of study are the nature of barrier formation and response of species in their patterns of travel and migration; in particular, the presence of rivers, mountain ranges, deserts and other natural boundaries are examples of large scale barriers. Besides such major landform barriers, there are soil, topographic and meteorological factors that influence the distribution of each species. In the case of smaller scale regimes that are applicable for some bacteria or limited range plant species, there are often very restricted niches; for example, certain bacteria extremophiles may be limited to such localized features as small geyser pools, and some rare plants may have a single extant... More »
Biome Last Updated on 2014-11-30 22:01:13 Biomes organize the biological communities of the earth based on similarities in the dominant vegetation, climate, geographic location, and other characteristics. Aspects of the physical environment such as precipitation, temperature, and water depth, have a strong influence on the traits of species living in that natural environment, and thus biological communities experiencing similar environmental conditions often contain species that have evolved similar characteristics. There is no single classification of biomes that is agreed upon by all scientists because different scientists wish to emphasize different characteristics by their definition. Historically however, biomes have been identified and mapped based on general differences in vegetation type associated with regional variations in climate and terrain. Terrestrial biomes characterize ecosystems on land, and are usually... More »
Biological corridor Last Updated on 2014-11-30 21:27:13   Biological corridor is the designation for a continuous geographic extent of  habitat linking ecosystems, either spatially or functionally; such a link restores or conserves the connection between habitats that are fragmented by natural causes or human development.  Such corridors are an important aspect in the preservation of species richness and biodiversity.  There are different scales of biological corridors, but all share the same purpose of providing connections for species through fragmented landscapes.  A biological corridor, alternatively termed habitat corridor, is used for the transportation functions of fauna and seed dispersal/propagation routes for flora and lower life forms. Specific elements of this transport for fauna include seasonal or migration movement, life cycle links, species dispersal, re-colonization of an area and movement in... More »
Species richness Last Updated on 2014-11-09 19:13:40 Species richness is simply the number of species present in a sample, community, or taxonomic group. Species richness is one component of the concept of species diversity, which also incorporates evenness, that is, the relative abundance of species. Species diversity is one component of the broader concept of biodiversity. About 1.75 million living species and 300,000 fossil species have been described by scientists. Estimates of the total species richness of the Earth range from three to 10 million, with some estimates as high as 50 million. Patterns of species richness can be observed at a variety of levels. The causes of these patterns remain active areas of research in ecology, biogeography, and evolutionary biology. Some taxonomic groups of organisms have more species than other groups. For example, there are almost three times more species of beetles (Order Coleoptera) than... More »