A Brief Note On Science And Its Effects On The Middle Of A Small Pond

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Dylan Fox Professor Brinkerhoff 3/4/15 Advanced Ecology Midterm (1) Why is scale important in ecology? Ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, their interactions between each other and their environment, and the structure and function of ecosystems. To this end, the scale (spatial, functional, temporal, organizational, etc.) at which we observe nature and the multitude of environments that comprise it is an extremely important factor in the study of ecology. Dumping sewage effluent in the middle of a small pond is not going to register even a slight disturbance on a global or even regional scale , but there is a still massive disturbance to the organisms at the small scale of that pond ecosystem. Similarly,…show more content…
Large-scale variations in these gradients are easy to observe, like an ecotone transitioning grassland into desert. Smaller scale variations are harder to detect with the naked eye, and micro-variations in habitat are harder to see still. The physical size of environmental heterogeneity / variation is not indicative of its importance to biodiversity or its ecological relevance, however, as Hutchinson reveals in his 1959 paper. He discusses the importance of the mosaic nature of the environment as a significant contributor to biodiversity. While large-scale variations in habitat are certainly important factors in organismal diversity and are responsible for niche differentiation, smaller scale and even microscopic habitat variations are arguably just as (if not more) important factors that contribute to biodiversity around the globe. Because the vast majority of animal species on Earth are physical small, even the tiny variations in a landscape that define its mosaic nature allow for more numerous and specialized niche differentiations than larger (and less numerous) land animals can fill . Hutchinson’s mosaic nature postulate was an extremely important breakthrough in modern Ecology, and helped spawn further research into the importance of examining nature at many different scales – microscopic, macroscopic, and everything in between. Scale is an extremely important
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