Ecology through the eyes of a non-ecologist

Janusz Uchmański
2020 Studia Ecologiae et Bioethicae  
Ecology is a branch of biology that deals with the life of plants and animals in their environment. Nature protection are practical actions where ecology is applied. Ecology is the most biological branch of biology because it deals with individuals in their living environment, and individuals "exist" only in biology. The most important issue being considered in ecology is biodiversity: its changes and its persistence. In their research, ecologists focus on the functioning of ecological systems.
more » ... ecological systems. In classical terms, they assume that the most important mechanism is density dependence. Mathematical models traditionally applied in ecology include ordinary difference and differential equations, which fits well with the assumption of density dependence, but this results in ecology being dominated by considerations of the stability of ecological systems. Evolutionary biology and ecology have separate areas of interest. Evolutionary biology explains the formation of optimal characteristics of individuals. Ecology also takes into account those individuals who have lost in the process of natural selection. The mathematical methods used in classical ecology were developed for the use of physics. The question arises whether they give a precise picture of the dynamics of ecological systems. Recently, a view has emerged stating that in order to see the importance of full-scale biodiversity, we should refer to individuals (rather than population density) as basic "atoms" that make up ecological systems. In ecology, we call this an individual-based approach. However, it gives a very complex picture of how ecological systems work. In ecology, however, there is an alternative way to describe the dynamics of ecological systems, i.e. through the circulation of matter in them and the flow of energy through them. It allows the use of traditional difference and differential equations in the formulation of mathematical models, which has proven itself in practical applications many times.
doi:10.21697/seb.2020.18.5.23 fatcat:7e6p6kukarahxie2dgbnggnsre