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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 a
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Contact: Ronald Rosenberg
ronrosen@bu.edu
617-358-1240
Boston University
Source:Eurekalert

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