In ecology, an ecosystem is a naturally occurring group of organisms (plant, animal, and other living organisms, better
known as biotic community) living together within their environment and functioning as a unit of some sorts. In simple terms it can be defined as any condition where there is an interaction between organisms and their environment.
The word ecosystem first came into use in the 1935 by a British ecologist describing the physical and biological components of an environment considered in relation to each other as a unit.
The ecosystem composes of two main units:
- The entirety of life known as bicoenosis; and
- The medium that life exists in, know as biotope.
An ecosystem is a self-motivated and multifaceted whole where there is interaction in an ecological unit. It is better understand by saying that every species within the ecosystem are connected in some way and are dependent upon each other in the food chain. These include the exchange in energy and matter in between themselves and within the environment they live in. There must be a structured functional unit where equilibrium is achieved.
Ecosystem comes in various sizes. It can range from an entire forest to a small pond. Each ecosystem are different and are often separated by geographical
barriers by things such as deserts, mountains, oceans, or are isolated otherwise, by lakes or rivers. Many believe that these borders are never rigid and that ecosystems tend to blend into each other. Hence, the whole earth is seen as a single ecosystem, or a lake or river can be separated into several ecosystems. It all depends on the use of scale.
In an ecosystem, organisms are generally well balanced with one another and within the environment they live in. Where there are introduction of new environmental factors or new species it can create disastrous results. It can lead to collapse of an ecosystem or even death of many of its native species.
When studying the ecosystem there are several questions that are commonly asked:
- In an arid area, how are colonization carried out?
- If there were dynamics and changes what are they in an ecosystem?
- At a local, regional, and global scale where it is at a current stable state, how does an ecosystem interact?
- Is there any value in an ecosystem? If there is value, how does it interact with the ecological systems and provide benefit to humans, especially the condition of healthy water?
What is Deep Ecology?
Deep ecology is the modern way of life, based on the shifting away from the reality exclusively in terms of human values and experiences
established by environmental and green groups and movements. This way of life is noticeable by a new explanation of “self” which minimizes the importance of the reliance on reason as the best guide for beliefs and actions together between human organism and its environment. It then allows importance to be placed upon the basic values of other species, systems, and processes of nature.
Deep ecology is often stated as “deep” because it poses the deeper questions about the role of human life in the ecosphere. From a scientific point of view, deep ecology is in the fields of ecology and system dynamics. But from a spiritual side it is the human species that forms parts of the earth and it cannot be separated from it.
Other traditions such as Taoism and Zen Buddhism have influenced deep ecology over the recent years. This is because they have a non-dualistic approach to subjects and objects.
The world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by human; this is what many advocates of deep ecology believe. The belief is that the whole system is ethically superior to any of its parts. Proponents has offers an eight-tier platform to make clear of their claims. Let’s have a look at them:
- There are values in both well-being and flourish of human and non-human life on earth. It is these independent values of usefulness of the non-human world for individual purposes.
- It is the fortune and variety of life forms that contribute to the understanding of each of these values and are also values within themselves.
- Individuals do not have any rights to lessen this fortune and variety except to fulfill the necessity of human needs.
- The significant decline of the human population is well-matched with the growing of human life and their cultures. It is the growing of non-human life which requires such decline.
- Intrusion at present by human with the non-human world is unnecessary, and this situation is deteriorating quickly.
- It is therefore important for laws and government policies such as basic economic, technological, and ideological structures to change. As a result, the state of dealings will be different from the present.
- The ideal change is to appreciate the quality of life that we currently have rather than holding on to an increasingly higher standard of living.
- For those human who pledge to proceed have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to apply the necessary changes.
Not normally considered a separate movement, but as part of the green movement, deep ecologists support devolution, the creation of eco-regions (an area defined by environmental conditions and natural features), breakdown of industrialism in its current forms, and an end to authoritarianism.
The attitude is helped by differentiating the modern ecology movement by pin pointing the human bias in terms of the environment and
rejecting the ideas that humans has as the controlling keepers of the environment.
It is a challenge that some critics believes that deep ecology is highly anti-social and that it advocates human extermination, or at least a large lessening in the human population. The view on nature role of food shortages and outbreak in diseases has been quite debatable in this area. Some critics may describe this as “eco- dictatorship”. In response to this, deep ecologists maintain that they advocate a new connection between humanity and the eco-sphere.
Dr. Rebecca Tarvin
Name: Rebecca Tarvin
Discipline: Integrative biology
Degrees: B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2010; Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 2017
Rebecca Tarvin is broadly interested in integrating studies of natural history with molecular genomics and phylogenetics. Specifically, she aims to elucidate causal genetic mechanisms underlying novel traits, characterize phenotypic diversification at macro and micro-evolutionary scales, and identify factors that promote and constrain biodiversity.
Research in her lab often involves merging fieldwork, labwork, and bioinformatics to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary forces underlying adaptive traits. Current projects in the lab focus on chemical defense evolution in frogs, flies, snakes, and nudibranchs.
She also likes to write about eco-friendly lifestyle and other material alternatives that are eco-friendly, aside from other ways to save Mother Earth