what is evolutions role in ecology
Ecology studies the relationships between living things, as well as their relationship to the surrounding environment.
Evolution is a major component of the study of Ecology because living things evolve by means of natural selection. Over geologic time, species adapt/change in response to changes within their own species, changes in other species, as well as changes in their non-living environment. So, evolution describes how species survive and respond to change.
Ecology studies these changes and adaptations and aims to find patterns in how relationships form and/or break as a consequence of natural selection.
Hope that helps!
Scientists studying the decline and recovery of seagrass beds in one of California’s largest estuaries have found that recolonization of the estuary by sea otters was a crucial factor in the seagrass comeback.
"…Hughes and his colleagues documented a remarkable chain reaction that began when sea otters started moving back into Elkhorn Slough in 1984. The sea otters don’t directly affect the seagrass, but they do eat enormous amounts of crabs, dramatically reducing the number and size of crabs in the slough. With fewer crabs to prey on them, grazing invertebrates like sea slugs become more abundant and larger. Sea slugs feed on the algae growing on the seagrass leaves, keeping the leaves clean and healthy….”
"Long-lived bacteria, reproducing only once every 10,000 years, have been found in rocks 2.5km (1.5 miles) below the ocean floor that are as much as 100 million years old…”
3 Recommended Documentaries
In the mood for a good one? Here are 3 that I’ve watched recently (all on Netflix) which are pretty thought provoking.
- If a Tree Falls (2011) - follows one man’s impending trial for acts of “eco-terrorism” during his time with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).
- Vanishing of the Bees (2009) - examines the “mystery” behind colony collapse disorder (CCD). Narrated by Ellen Page.
- Surviving Progress (2011) - explores the “progress trap” in connection to sustainability and it’s applicability to modern times. Features commentary from great Stephen Hawking and Jane Goodall, among others.
Shorter-Winged Sparrows Evolve Around Highways
"Over the last 30 years, the number of cliff swallows killed along roads in southwestern Nebraska has plunged, and the birds’ average wing length has shrunk, researchers report March 18 in Current Biology.” (read more)
The data are “jaw dropping,” says animal behaviorist Colleen Cassady St. Clair of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, who was not involved with the work. The results suggest that years of smacking into SUVs forced swallows to adapt to the road.
did you ever post about Lynn Margulis dying!?!?! I just found out today!
I did not and apologies for the late response… I seem to never see these messages.
For those curious, Lynn Marguilis ”is best known for her theory on the origin of eukaryotic organelles and her contributions to endosymbiotic theory, which is now generally accepted fr how certain organelles were formed.”