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systems ecologySystemökologie (ger.)

  • A branch of ecology that analyzes mathematically, usually with the help of computer models, the way components of ecosystems retain, exchange, or cycle energy and materials. (Oxford Dict. of Ecology 2004)

    The new ecology is thus a systems ecology—or, to put it in other words, the new ecology deals with the structure and function of levels of organization beyond that of the individual and species. Or we might say that ecology is the study of the structure and function of nature, if we define nature as any life-support system (i.e., any ecosystem) functioning within whatever space we chose to consider whether it be a culture vessel, a space capsule, a crop field, a pond, or the earthʼs biosphere.

    Odum, E. et al. (1964). The new ecology. BioScience 14, 14-16: 15; Patten, B.C. (1966). Systems ecology: a course sequence in mathematical ecology. BioScience 16, 593-598; id. (ed.) (1971-76). Systems Analysis and Simulation in Ecology, 4 vols.; Van Dyne, G.M. (1966). Ecosystems, systems ecology, and systems ecologists (in: Shugart, H.H. & O’Neill, R.V. (eds.) (1979). Systems Ecology, 67-89); Watt, K.E.F. (ed.) (1966). Systems Analysis in Ecology; Jeffers, J.N.R. (1978). An Introduction to Systems Analysis with Ecological Applications.