Interactions and relationships among organisms and their environment. This includes biotic and abiotic (non-living/environmental) factors that impact organisms.

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477 views

How do biological communities at deep-ocean hydrothermal vents migrate between vents?

Much interest in the astrobiology community has been generated by the discovery of biological communities populating deep-ocean hydrothermal vents (i.e. "black smokers"). (1) These ecosystems rely on ...
24
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2answers
645 views

Smallest viable reproducing population

What is the smallest viable reproducing population, such as in a human population. By viable I mean a population which keeps genetic defects low (enough). A very strongly related question: what is ...
19
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1answer
1k views

Can beavers control the direction a tree falls?

We humans can easily control the direction a tree falls by making a number of strategic cuts, essentially creating a hinge: This prevents trees from falling on equipment and people and sets them up ...
18
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2answers
286 views

Was the recent “conservation hunt” of a black rhino supported by science?

CNN recently covered a sanctioned black rhino hunt in Namibia by Texan Corey Knowlton, who bid US$350,000 for the license. In the story, he claims that the hunt was actually supporting conservation of ...
14
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2answers
6k views

How will rising carbon dioxide levels in the troposphere affect photosynthetic producers?

Much discussion has been had about the affects of climate change on plantlife, but how will rising carbon dioxide concentrations affect the photosynthetic process itself? Since CO₂ is a reagent in ...
13
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1answer
114 views

How do burrowing animals get enough oxygen?

Tree borers make a small hole in a tree. At the end of it, they chew on wood to elongate the tunnel. They digest food and grow. All this takes oxygen. The entrance to the tunnel is generally small. ...
12
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3answers
326 views

When are population dynamics models useful?

When are population dynamics models useful? There seems to have been a lot of research about it, but how does it help? If I need data about how a population will evolve under what conditions, I need ...
12
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3answers
136 views

Where can I find historical data on world-wide ecology parameters?

I hope this is the right StackExchange forum for such a question. I'm looking for large data sets on world-wide ecology parameters, such as annual temperatures by latitude, annual rainfall, CO₂ and ...
12
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1answer
122 views

Vaccination and population dynamics of an epidemic

I'm trying to figure out how should a vaccination model be built to correlate with population density, and I'm having problems to understand meanings of the results I receive when I apply theory on ...
12
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1answer
236 views

Why are fly not scared when landing on a monitor with changing graphics?

I have been wondering why would insects in general, not be scared when important changes happen on your monitor where they have landed... If you move even just a finger, they are scared to death and ...
11
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2answers
4k views

Can humans transdermally absorb minerals from ocean water, and if so how much?

According to several studies quoted here, chemicals can be absorbed by the skin transdermally, at least under certain conditions. When it comes to elements in seawater like sodium, magnesium, ...
11
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3answers
375 views

Most suitable biodiversity index

I am conducting an investigation into the effect of two different grass management techniques (grazing vs. machine-mowing) upon floral biodiversity. I have collected my data and now need to process ...
10
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1answer
3k views

Why are some berries poisonous?

In my understanding, the evolutional function of berries is to be eaten and pood out somewhere else, so that the seeds of the plant spread. Is this so? Then why are some berries poisonous?
10
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1answer
154 views

How big should the human population be, as predicted by body mass?

I would guess there is a theory in biology which states that the population size for a given species is inversely proportional to the body mass of individuals in that species. In other words, there ...
10
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1answer
218 views

Do invasive species cause long-term damage to ecosystems they invade?

Growing up in the U.S., I was warned at various times of the dire consequences of a variety of introduced pests (usually insects). Japanese beetles, gypsy moths, and most recently the brown ...
9
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4answers
904 views

What prevents predator overpopulation?

I've often heard that a population, human or otherwise, will continue to grow as long as there is food available (assuming nothing else is killing them off). It makes sense: if you have food you can ...
9
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1answer
375 views

Does the cell internal temperature changes in response to a change in external temperature?

Background Some species are homeotherm (internal temperature is not affected by a change in external temperature) and some are poikilotherm (internal temperature changes in response to external ...
9
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1answer
995 views

How does population stability evolve?

The number of individuals constituting a population is called population size. Over time population size does not remain constant, it fluctuates to different extent over generations because of ...
9
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2answers
156 views

Does artificial high intensity light damage permanently dark ecosystems?

Popular science features on wildlife typically capture camera images using natural light, or high-speed exposures. This is not possible where the ambient light is extremely poor. E.g. Caves, Undersea ...
8
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3answers
223 views

Can elements of one's environment act directly as hormones?

Can pollution and things in an organism's environment serve as hormones?
8
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3answers
1k views

Are there species that occupy several roles in the food hierarchy?

Are there species that occupy several roles in the food hierarchy? By role, I am referring to producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer, tertiary consumer, quaternary consumer and so on. ...
8
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3answers
131 views

What triggers the migration of robins?

I live in central Massachusetts, and have begun seeing robins, as we generally do in early March. The temperature is well below normal, though, and three feet of snow are covering the still-frozen ...
8
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2answers
60 views

What are the ecological effects of moderately high and prolonged concentrations of nitrogen deposition on an ecosystem?

There are many sources of nitrogen which eventually get deposited out of the atmosphere and onto the land/surface. Typically higher levels of nitrogen compounds are emitted near urban and roadway ...
7
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1answer
97 views

Is there a website that shows population sizes?

I'm looking for a website that shows the population sizes of a species (doesn't matter which) as a function of time at a geographic coordinate. Is there a government website or other free database ...
7
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1answer
81 views

Do camels pose an environmental threat to kangaroos?

Camels, once used for transport across the Australian outback, were set free, and are reproducing at an uncontrolled rate in the empty interior of Australia. Do the ecosystems of camels and ...
7
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1answer
135 views

Database of Geographic Range of Species

Is there a database of organisms which would contain their queriable geographic location? I would need to perform a rather simple query, such as ...
7
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1answer
2k views

How should species density be calculated for a clumped distribution?

Lets imagine 5 plots of different size are sampled for a target species: ...
7
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1answer
91 views

Is there a standard format for plant community composition data?

FIA has a nice database of forest Inventory data, this would be great except that it does not seem capable of handling data from non-tree species (e.g., grasslands, wetlands). Is there a standard ...
7
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2answers
172 views

Can allelopathy succesfully be used against algal blooms?

Algal blooms caused by man (harmful algal blooms) are a major ecological problem. An excessive amount of algae causes hypoxia and logically, most marine wildlife can't be sustained in hypoxic ...
7
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1answer
276 views

Compare and contrast “Rubisco activity” and “assimilation rate” (is there a difference, and if so, what is it)?

I am confused about the variable "RuBisCO activity". How is it measured, and is it any different from the net assimilation rate? Based on some background reading (e.g. Kling, 2008; Lambers et al ...
6
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2answers
486 views

Is there an antagonistic association between Penicillium and Aspergillus?

Some Aspergillus species appear to like walnuts. My question concerns the association of Penicillium and Aspergillus. No sooner does Aspergillus colonize a walnut (or some other challenging carbon ...
6
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3answers
256 views

If I built a concrete pool, would it ever contain fish?

Imagine that I built a concrete-walled pool the size of a football field and filled it with fresh water - obtained from another lake but free of bacteria, plantlife, eggs, etc. Would it ever, over ...
6
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3answers
562 views

Is there a hypothesis that attempts to explain patterns of species richness along all three energy-related environmental gradients?

My question is related to one of the oldest question in ecology: "What determines global patterns of species richness?". However, I want to focus on one particular part of this question, which has ...
6
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2answers
129 views

What is the mechanism behind plants losing their leaves? [duplicate]

Do plants that lose their leaves (i.e., deciduous plants) do so because of external conditions (e.g., drought, cold), or because of an internal process? Another way of looking at it: if you take a ...
6
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1answer
100 views

What controls the southern range of willows?

Many willows (Salix spp.) grow in northern states but do not grow in southern states, for example Salix viminalis. What mechanisms control the southern range of temperate hardwoods such as willow? Is ...
6
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3answers
264 views

Are there any known mutual symbiotic relationships that has more than two agents?

We are all familiar with the examples of symbiotic relationships in nature consisting of two agents, like lichen or the co-evolvement between certain birds and flowering plants. Do we know of any ...
6
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1answer
3k views

How does a pine cone open?

When a pine cone is wet, it remains closed. However, when it's dry it opens again. From the perspective of physics or biomechanics, what is the mechanism that allows a pine cone to open and close as ...
6
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2answers
270 views

Can I compare Shannon indices of metagenome gene data?

I'm comparing 12 Metagenomes. I'm using HMM counts of a number of proteins known to exists as groups within certain operons. I have grouped the HMM counts for each type of operon and calculated the ...
6
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1answer
96 views

Viruses selected by evolution

First let me apologize in advance for I know almost nothing about biology. I had a conversation today with a family member who is a bio-computer-scientist and he talked to me about what his colleagues ...
6
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1answer
244 views

Definitions and examples of some math-releated ecology branches

I would like to have an example of application and a brief description/definition (two or three lines) of the following fields. I would like to understand the exact differences between them. Other ...
6
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1answer
160 views

Effects of selection on effective population size

Background The effective population size ($N_e$) is a central concept of evolutionary biology and is influenced by several parameters. For example: sex ratio bias affects $N_e$ $\left(N_e = ...
6
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1answer
333 views

Are there any side-effects from a mosquitoes extinction?

Suppose that we have the ability to make mosquitoes extinct, what would the side-effect of such extinction be other than the fact that there won't be any mosquitoes left? Is it worth it to make ...
6
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1answer
166 views

Is it theoretically possible to restore the Tiger population to 100,000?

The current global Tiger population is roughly 5100 according to Wikipedia. With habitat destruction and poaching continuing and no effective improvement in conservation, most likely the Tiger ...
6
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1answer
95 views

How can we calculate the minimum sustainable number of the panda population?

I have a degree in Biology so I'm a little embarrassed that I never learned this, but... How do we know 1600 Pandas isn't enough? I know that we have historical numbers (although I couldn't find ...
6
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1answer
99 views

Has Colony Collapse Disorder (or its equivalent) been noted in other species?

Colony Collapse Disorder is a well studied phenomenon relating to the decline of bee populations - has this disorder, or its equivalent, been observed in other colony-based species?
6
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1answer
150 views

Can jellyfish improve Black Sea environment?

According to this study, cited by many popular science magazines, jellyfish and other, smaller animals can contribute to the vertical ocean stir as much as currents do. Black Sea chemistry and ...
6
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1answer
69 views

Primary Productivity of Oceans

80% of the world's photosynthesis takes place in the ocean. Despite this, oceans are also said to have low productivity - they cover 75% of the earth's surface, but out of the annual 170 billion ...
6
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0answers
214 views

What bacteria shed harvestable energy from root zone organic matter?

I recently heard of a successful effort that harvests energy from soil at plants' bases due to apparently bacterial breakdown of wastes from the plants: Via photosynthesis a plant produces organic ...
6
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0answers
71 views

Does preservation in ethanol alter leaf litter mass?

I have benthic samples that were collected with an Ekman dredge from some small ponds. The samples contain quite a bit of coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM, basically dead leaves). I would ...
5
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3answers
406 views

Why are there ecosystems?

Why would things self-organize in such a manner? I'm a mathematician and I have no baggage in ecology or biology. If the question is too broad maybe someone can point me to formal sources where this ...