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History of Ecology

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History of ecology

The term ecology was first used by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1869), however, this science has its origins in other sciences such as biology, geology and evolution among others.

Lamarck with his theory of evolution, proposed that the environment is in constant transformation, by which agencies need change and make an effort to achieve this, and this is a mechanism of evolution, one of the main bases of ecology taking into account the relationships of organisms and their environment.

On the other hand, not only the agencies change and evolve, but also the Earth’s crust. The English geologist Charles Lyell found that the Earth’s crust is the result of gradual changes throughout the history of the planet. Giving way to the transformation of ecosystems and their functions.

Modern ecology, actually had its principles with the development of the theory of Darwinian evolution. He noted that the environment is constantly changing which causes the agencies with best adaptations are those who survive by the mechanism of natural selection. Highlighting the importance of the interaction of organisms with their environment.

 Although the ecology was born in the 19th century, with the work of Haeckel, ecology began to flourish until the 20th century, when the first ecological journals and ecological societies appeared.

The definition of Haeckel, has been the subject of interpretations something different and perhaps more profound since 1900. For example, the English ecologist Charles Elton defined ecology as the “scientific natural history” which deals with the “sociology and economy of animals”. An American plant ecologist, Frederick Clements, considered that ecology was “the science of the community”, and the contemporary American ecologist Eugene Odum defined, perhaps too widely, as ‘the study of the structure and function of nature’.

The first conceptions of the “genotypic” begin in the third decade of the 20th century or ecology of communities, where the concept of community as superior hierarchical level of organization, includes different people interacting with its environment. However this concept, attached to the biological origin of ecology, once again was decoupled agencies that defined it. Later, as it is the case still, stood “biotope” as a place where is found the community but by characteristics inherent in the physical environment, not by their relationship to agencies.

In the Decade of the 40s, Tansley (1935) proposed the concept of “ecosystem”. This term was later developed by Lindeman (1941), who conceived it from exchanges of energy, in response to the need for concepts that link various agencies to their physical environments. In the texts of ecology of the 1950s and still later, designating ecosystem as the sum of the various communities (or biocoenosis) and biotope (inert atmosphere). In this type of definition is notable as agencies or the community are made disociadamente of the environment, because that ecosystem is defined by the sum of terms.


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