Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New discipline of aeroecology introduced

Date:
February 18, 2011
Source:
Boston University
Summary:
Research biologists are conducting a symposium on the emerging scientific discipline of aeroecology at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

A team of research biologists headed by Thomas H. Kunz, professor of biology and director of the Center of Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University, will conduct a symposium on the emerging scientific discipline of aeroecology at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. Aeroecology is a new discipline whose unifying concept is a focus on the aerosphere and the myriad organisms that inhabit and depend on this aerial environment for their existence. The symposium is scheduled from 3:00-4:30 PM, Saturday, February 19, 2011, in Room 102B in the Washington Convention Center.

In the history of science and technology, 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, notes 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 in January 2008.

Kunz, who is best known for his extensive research on bats, will explain how 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 Earth's atmosphere, or aerosphere, that supports the myriad airborne organisms that, in large part, depend upon this fluid 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 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 that 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 therein.

Kunz adds, "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."

"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… as Kunz notes.

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 the sustainability of terrestrial, aquatic, and aerospheric environments," states Kunz.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. H. Kunz, S. A. Gauthreaux, N. I. Hristov, J. W. Horn, G. Jones, E. K. V. Kalko, R. P. Larkin, G. F. McCracken, S. M. Swartz, R. B. Srygley, R. Dudley, J. K. Westbrook, M. Wikelski. Aeroecology: probing and modeling the aerosphere. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2007; 48 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1093/icb/icn037

Cite This Page:

Boston University. "New discipline of aeroecology introduced." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218111338.htm>.
Boston University. (2011, February 18). New discipline of aeroecology introduced. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218111338.htm
Boston University. "New discipline of aeroecology introduced." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218111338.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins