Navigation Links
The emerging scientific discipline of aeroecology
Date:8/1/2008

(Boston) -- In the history of science and technology, there is an infrequent combination of empirical discoveries, theories and technology developments converge that make it possible to recognize a new discipline. Past examples include marine biology, biomechanics and astrobiology with more recent developments of nanotechnology and bioinformatics all disciplines that are now well established in the lexicon of modern science and technology.

Aeroecology is one such emerging discipline, noted Thomas H. Kunz, Boston University Professor of Biology and Director of the Center of Ecology and Conservation Biology and the lead author of "Aeroecology: probing and modeling the aerosphere," a research report* in Integrative and Comparative Biology, based on a symposium sponsored by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Kunz, who is best known for his extensive research on bats, explained that aeroecology embraces and integrates the domains of atmospheric science, earth science, geography, ecology, computer science, computational biology, and engineering.

The unifying concept that underlies aeroecology is its focus on the planetary boundary layer of the Earth's atmosphere, or aerosphere, which supports the myriad of airborne organisms that, in large part, depend upon this natural environment for their existence. Organisms that use the aerosphere, specifically arthropods, birds and bats, are also influenced by an increasing number of anthropogenic or man-made conditions and structures, notably lighted towns and cities, air pollution, skyscrapers, aircraft, radio and television towers, plus a recent proliferation of communication towers and wind turbines that dot the Earth's landscape.

In addition, human-altered landscapes increasing are characterized by deforestation, intensive agriculture, urbanization, and assorted industrial activities that are rapidly and irreversibly transforming the quantity and quality of available terrestrial and aquatic habitats which airborne organisms rely upon. These conditions are known to influence navigational cues, sources of food, water, nesting and roosting habitats--factors that can, in turn, alter the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the assemblages of organisms.

Similarly, "climate change and its expected increase in global temperatures, altered circulation of air masses, and effects on local and regional weather patterns are expected to have profound impacts on the foraging and migratory behavior of insects, birds and bats," noted Kunz.

"In contrast to organisms that depend strictly on terrestrial or aquatic existence, those that routinely use the aerosphere are almost immediately influenced by changing atmospheric conditions ( e.g. winds, air density, precipitation, air temperature) sunlight, polarized light, moonlight and geomagnetic and gravitational forces," the report states.

Ecologists who study animals that use the aerosphere face three important challenges:

  1. to discover best methods for detecting the presence, taxonomic identity, diversity, and activity of organisms that use this aerial environment,
  2. to identify ways to integrate relevant environmental variables at different temporal and spatial scales, and
  3. to determine how best to understand and interpret behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary responses of organisms in the context of complex meteorological conditions and patterns within both natural and anthropogenically-altered environments.

"Appropriate integration of diverse tools and concepts for probing into the lives of organisms aloft can help inform important ecological and evolutionary concepts and management decisions associated with the spread of invasive species, emergence of infectious diseases, altered biodiversity, and sustainability of terrestrial, aquatic, and aerospheric environments," said Kunz.


'/>"/>
Contact: Ronald Rosenberg
ronrosen@bu.edu
617-358-1240
Boston University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Emerging (disease) markets
2. Emerging field of neuroecology is showcased in December issue of the Biological Bulletin
3. The emerging story of plant roots
4. Saudi Arabias KAUST and IIT, Bombay to Collaborate on Scientific Research
5. Frontiers in Optics presents scientific advancements
6. Scientists launch deep-sea scientific drilling program to study volatile earthquake zone
7. HortTalks, a valuable scientific resource
8. New ETH Zurich article published in scientific journal Nature
9. Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology Annual Scientific Conference
10. PNNLs Richard Smith named to prestigious Scientific American 50 list of outstanding leaders
11. Evolution education is a must says coalition of scientific and teaching organizations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today ... one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the human ... first application of deep learning to create predictive models ... and a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen ... future publicly available resources created and shared by the ...
(Date:4/4/2017)...   EyeLock LLC , a leader of iris-based ... Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent ... an iris image with a face image acquired in ... 45 th issued patent. "The ... the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come to ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... HONG KONG , March 30, 2017 ... developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground ... technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use ... applications at an affordable cost. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights ... (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied ... the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At ... announced Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, ... Stubbs was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: