Ecology questions regarding experiments and evolution.

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Ecology questions regarding experiments and evolution.

Post by Lynus » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:49 am

2 questions that I cant seem to find an answer to are these,

I have finally narrowed down my field to biology after years of beating my head against the wall thinking about it. I used to think of physics so this is where this question is coming from.

1 Will ecology ever become a quanitative science in terms of ecosystems as a whole. Is ecology just too big and have too many variables to come close to producing actual values for variables and trends of the whole ecosystem? Can we ever produce experiments that would test hypothesis' pertaining to interactions of a large number of organisms?

I thought of meteorology as kind of being in the same boat but they have remote sensing that can detect whats going on in the sky, ecology doesnt and I dont think ever really can.

This next question is more of a conservation question interms of evolution.

2 If we save or help certain species wouldnt that then reduce the chances of evolution happening? Why change how you are when theres no reason to since youre no longer in danger due to human interference?

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Post by mkwaje » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:43 pm

In my opinion,

1. Ecology just like some other sciences like chem and physics can be based on probababilities. Interactions among various biotic and abiotic factors lead to very interesting relationships that border to unpredictability due to our insufficient knowledge. But certain events can be predictable. You could look at bioinformatics forum to see how the behavior of microorganisms can be predicted using equations carefully inputting the environmental factors, etc...

2. Man, I believe, is an agent of evolution. We strive to make things better, (well most of us anyway :P) by interfering or even allowing for the growth of certain organisms.

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Ecology has always been quantitative.

Post by buteo » Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:28 am

Ecology is already a very quantitative science. High school "Environmental Science" courses are a far cry from college level ecology courses for majors. Some of the first ecology textbooks, like Andrewartha and Birch, were very quantitative. Pielou published her book Mathematical Ecology over thirty years ago. Check out any of Roughgarden's books if your looking for quantitative. Those pursuing a career in ecology take courses in graduate school that may include purely quantitative areas such as biostatistics, stochastic modeling, and population dynamic. Plan on getting a solid foundation in calculus and basic statistics as an undergraduate.


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