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:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft System ... over the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo ... At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see ... as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , March 9, 2017 4Dx has publicly ... Lung Imaging Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. Founder ... to deliver the latest data to world leaders in ... brings together leaders at the forefront of the industry ... imaging. "The quality of the imaging ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... and ROCKVILLE, Md. , March ... of Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund (MBVF), today announced positive ... added to the standard drug therapy regimen in patients ... small molecule drug discovered by scientists at Sequella, Inc. ... Institutes of Health. A total of ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017 Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology ... cancer vaccines, today announced participation at the following conferences: ... Blair and Maidstone Life Sciences conference "Cancer Immunotherapy Conference" ... New York, NY . Agenus will participate ... 9:40 am: Robert B. Stein , M.D., Ph.D., ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  SeraCare Life ... global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and clinical ... industry,s first multiplexed Inherited Cancer reference ... by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseq™ Inherited ... with input from industry experts to validate ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage  ... Cancer remains ... strain on health care systems, in terms of costs and ... too does the development of innovative and efficient therapies that ... the many types of cancer treatments, a growing number of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: