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Scope and

History of
Ecology

Objectives
1. Establish the scope and
conceptual framework of
ecology

2. Identify key historical


personalities that led to the
growth of the science of
ecology
3. Summarize the brief
beginnings of ecology

Adapted from Supplementary Readings in Biology 150 by


Cervancia , Cuevas and Sierra.

Ecology defined

study of the interactions of


organisms in and with their
environment

Greek oikos (house/home)

term was coined by Ernst


Haeckel (1869)

study of the economy of


resources

By ecology, we mean the body of knowledge


concerning the economy of nature the investigation of
the total relations of the animal both to its organic and
to its inorganic environment; including above all, its
friendly and inimical relation with those animals and

plants with which it comes directly or indirectly into


contact in a word, ecology is the study of all the
complex interrelationships referred to by Darwin as the
conditions of the struggle for existence.

Father of Ecology
Alexander von
HUMBOLDTFather of Biogeography
Interactions between
organisms and the
environment

Late 1800s

Immense body
of knowledge
about the world
around us

Accelerated
deterioration
of the earths
environment

Increasing
technology and
materialism

European and
American
scientists ecologists

Upon which
Ecological understanding
humanity
depends for is needed more than ever
food, water,
To learn the best
protection
policies for
against natural managing natural
resources
catastrophes,
environmental
and public
support systems
health

The Realm of Ecology

within the hierarchy of the different levels of organization

Earth Solar Systems Galaxies Clusters Super Clusters Universe


Biosphere

Multiverse???

Biomes

Ecosystems
Communities
Populations
Elementary Particles

Organisms

Atoms Molecules Protoplasm Cells Tissues Organs

The Biology layer cake

basic (horizontal), taxonomic (vertical) divisions

BASIC
DIVISIONS
layers

TAXONOMIC
DIVISIONS
slices

ornithology
entomology
bacteriology
mycology
bryology

The Biology layer cake

basic (horizontal), taxonomic (vertical) divisions

Subdisciplines of Ecology

Organismal Ecology
Population Ecology
Community Ecology
Ecosystem Ecology
Landscape Ecology

Microbial Ecology
Plant Ecology
Animal Ecology

Physiological Ecology
Genetic Ecology
Behavioral Ecology
Systems Ecology

Sciences Allied to Ecology


Natural History

Environmental
Science
Resource
Management Sciences

Conceptual Framework for Ecological Research

Scientific Method
Reductionism vs. Holism
Limitations of Experimental Manipulation
Making inferences from comparative studies
Statistical Analysis and Mathematical Modeling
Proximate and Ultimate Explanations

Ecology is relatively new


basic subject matter of ecology is acquired

from other fields like physiology, geology and


climatology, etc.

Modern ecology traces its roots


to natural history
Sometimes connotes anecdotal,
unsystematic and causal
investigation
A true naturalist requires:
attention to details
precision of recording
recognition and manipulation
of variable influences of the
observations

HistoryGreek inquiry
ARISTOTLE wrote
Historia Animalium based on second hand
data
THEOPHRASTUS
observed plants and
animals brought to him
by those who
accompanied Alexander
the Great
HERODOTUS and
PLATO Nature
provides for all
organisms. Providential Ecology

History16th to 18th century


GESNER and
ALDROVANDI
described
interactions of
plants and animals

LINNAEUS
phenology and
flowering of plants

RAUMURnatural checks
in insect
populations

BUFFONdifferent regions
have distinct
plants and
animals
HUMBOLDTFather of
Ecology and
Biogeography

History19th century
DARWIN and
WALLACE on the
Theory of Natural
Selection

WARMING considered
both abiotic and biotic
factors in the assembly
of communities
BATES first to
scientifically
document
mimicry

ECOCLIMATOLOGY

branch of bioclimatology which studies the relationship


between living organisms and their climatic environment

G. Clarke (1939)- studied the effect of solar energy on aquatic


organisms
R. Geiger (1941)- demonstrated the importance of microclimate
for the survival of organisms
Bullock (1945)- studied the response of poikilotherms to
temperature changes

ECOPHYSIOLOGY

studies the adaptation of organism's physiology to


environmental conditions

Justus von Liebig Law of the Minimum


(1830s)
-a plant's development is
limited by the one
essential mineral that is in
relatively shortest supply

-visualized as "Liebig's
barrel"

ECOPHYSIOLOGY

studies the adaptation of organism's physiology to


environmental conditions

Frederick Frost Blackman


extended Liebigs Law of
Minimum;

Law of Limiting Factors


(1905)
-when a process depends on a
number of factors, its rate is
limited by the pace of the
slowest factor

ECOPHYSIOLOGY

studies the adaptation of organism's physiology to


environmental conditions

Victor Ernest Shelford


Law of Tolerance (1911) - each individual or population has a
certain minimum, maximum, and optimum environmental factor or
combination of factors that determine success

POPULATION ECOLOGY

Thomas Robert Malthus


(1798)- "The power of population
is indefinitely greater than the
power in the earth to produce
subsistence for man."

POPULATION ECOLOGY

Pierre Verhulst(1844/45)
proposed the
logistic growth
model

POPULATION ECOLOGY

Lotka and Volterrapredator and prey model

POPULATION ECOLOGY

Georgii Gause -

Competitive Exclusion
Principle (1934)
-two species competing for
the same resources cannot
coexist if other ecological
factors are constant

COMMUNITY ECOLOGY

Mobius (1877)- proposed the term


biocoenosis to describe the
community of organisms

Cowles (1899) studied succession in


plants
Tansley- proposed and clearly defined
the term ecosystem