Introduction to Ecology and Environmental Science by iAr3m29N

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									Introduction to Ecology and Environmental Science

Ecology
• Greek Oikos = the home or household
• -ology = study of

Hierarchical organization in biology
• Organism - a unique individual
• Population - group of potentially interbreeding individuals (i.e., species)
• Community - all populations within an ecosystem (i.e., multiple species)
• Ecosystem - community + physical environment
• Biosphere - ecosystems of the Earth

Ecological subdisciplines
• Behavioral ecology
• Population ecology
• Community ecology
• Ecosystem ecology
Behavioral ecology
•   How does behavior contribute to survivorship, reproduction and population
    growth?

Population ecology
•   What controls the abundance of a species?
•   How do populations grow?
•   What are the controls on population growth rate?


Community ecology
• Interactions among organisms within and across environments
• Biodiversity on earth
   – Preservation of species-rich areas
Ecosystem ecology
• Passage of energy and nutrients through communities
• Effects of energy and nutrients on communities
• Human alterations of global cycles

Spatial scale
• A space occupied by an individual (behavioral ecology)
• A local patch occupied by many individuals (a population)
• A large enough space to comprise multiple populations (a community)
• A biogeographic scale large enough to encompass a community, and its
  nutrients and energy cycles (an ecosystem)

Temporal scale
•   Proper choice of scale depends on phenomenon and species studied
     – Short-scale studies for behavioral responses
     – Longer-scale studies for population dynamics and ecosystem processes
Ecology
• Ecology is an integrative/ interdisciplinary science
• Understanding of the biological (biotic) and physical (abiotic) sciences
• Provides a context for the reductionist sciences in biology
• Closely tied to genetics and evolution
• Ecology can be studied at different spatial and temporal scales
• Includes the role of humans in their environment

Environment
• Humans have always inhabited both the natural world and the social world
• Environment for humans includes the complex of social or cultural conditions
  that affect an individual or community

Environmental science
• Environmental science is a systematic study of our environment, and our place
  in it
   – Interdisciplinary and integrative
   – Mission Oriented – Implies that we have a responsibility to get involved and
      solve the problems we have created
What is environmental science?
• Application of all fields of natural science toward solving environmental
  problems
• Laws, ethics, economics, and other aspects of human behavior will play a key
  role in solving environmental problems.

Environmental ethics
• Ethics is a branch of philosophy:
   – Morals: Distinction between right and wrong
   – Values: Ultimate worth of actions or things
• Environmental ethics deals with the moral relationships between humans and
  the surrounding world.

Environmental justice
• Environmental justice combines civil rights and environmental protection to
  demand a safe, healthy environment for all people
   – People of color around the world are subjected to a disproportionately high
     level of environmental health risks
       • Environmental racism

Environmental justice
• Toxic colonialism - Targeting poor communities in areas or countries for waste
  disposal and/or experimentation
   – Native American Reservations
   – Moving operations to countries where environmental regulations are lax
Environmental science: past and present
Historical perspective
• Four distinct stages:
   – Pragmatic resource conservation
   – Moral and aesthetic nature preservation
   – Modern environmentalism
   – Global environmentalism
Nature protection is not new!
• Habitat destruction noted by Aristotle and Plato in classical Greek period
• Conservation management practiced by agrarian societies
• Private game management, royal preserves and private manor lands
   – commons not considered
• One quarter of Mauritius set aside for protection in 1769 by French governor
History of American resource management
•   American Indians
•   American colonists
     – nature as economic resource
     – nature as “evil”
Pragmatic resource conservation
• George Perkins Marsh - Man and Nature
     • Influenced Theodore Roosevelt and his chief conservation advisor
       Gifford Pinchot
         – Pragmatic Utilitarian Conservation
             » “Greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time”
             » For people that live here now, not in the future
             » Multiple Use Policies of USFS came out of this ethic
         – Roosevelt, Pinchot and others are responsible for creating framework
           of national park, wildlife refuges and forests

Moral and aesthetic nature preservation
• John Muir - President of Sierra Club
   – Nature deserves to exist for its own sake - regardless of degree of
     usefulness to humans (Biocentric Preservation)
   – Disagreed with Pinchot about damming of river
Modern environmentalism
• Industrial explosion of WW II added new concerns to the environmental
  agenda
   – Rachel Carson - Silent Spring (1962)
Modern environmentalism
• Environmental agenda expanded in 1960’s and 70’s to include:
   – Human population growth
   – Atomic weapons testing
   – Fossil fuel issues
   – Air pollution
   – Wilderness protection
Global environmentalism
• Increased technology has greatly expanded international awareness
• Recognizes that we are a global village
• Includes social justice
Environmental issues are complex

   – Chemical contamination
   – UV radiation
   – Solar radiation
   – Parasite infection
Current conditions
• Human Population > 6 Billion
• 85 million added per year
   – Food shortages and famines
   – Water quantity and quality issues
   – Fossil fuel burning
      • Air and water pollution
      • Global climate change
   – Landscape destruction
      • Loss of biodiversity

Invasive species

								
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