From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ECOLOGY (Greek oikos the house, a habital + logos the doctrine) — science

about patterns of formation and functioning of biological systems and their relationship with the environment.

On formation E. the theory of evolution of Ch. Darvin which showed need of complete studying of natural set of a plant and animal life, continuously reconstructed in the course of adaptation to the environment exerted impact (see Darwinism, Theory of evolution).

The concept «ecology» is entered by the German scientist Gekkel (E. Haeckel) in 1866 which defined it as «... the general science about the relations of organisms to the environment...». Therefore long time E. considered as the science studying adaptation of organisms of different types to conditions of the environment. In recent years to its thicket define as science about multispecific communities — ecosystems or even as science about the environment. Traditional division E. on the general (studying of philosophy of the organization and functioning biol. systems) and private (studying of specific groups of live organisms) reflects not so much a perspective of ecology as sciences how many distinction in character of specific researches.

One of the earliest directions E. — the landscape ecology — studies devices of organisms to the different geographical environment, formation of biocenotic complexes of various landscape zones and their divisions (see the Biogeocenosis, the Biocenosis), biol. features of these complexes, their influence ° on the habitat. Many problems landscape E. have practical value since are defined by climatic and other physiographic conditions productivity of separate types, a possibility of acclimatization of useful forms, conditions of formation and stability of existence of the natural centers of diseases of the person and animals (see Acclimatization, the Environment, the Natural ochagovost).

Other direction E. studies specific mechanisms, with the help to-rykh adaptation to the changing conditions of the environment, necessary for smooth functioning of biological systems of different level is carried out (see Adaptation, Adaptation). This direction call functional, or physiological, ecology as the majority of adaptive mechanisms has fiziol. nature. For a long time functional E. covered only organismic level, however gradually the sphere of this direction of science significantly extended, having included fiziol. the mechanisms operating at the population and biocenotic levels (see. Population biology). Knowledge of patterns of adaptation of organisms has essential value in livestock production and crop production, veterinary science, a game management. This section E. it is important also for medicine since physiological mechanisms of adaptation at the person and at the highest animals in principle are identical. Besides, knowledge of natural mechanisms of regulation of number at the population and biocenotic levels is important during the development of strategy and tactics of actions for control of the types important in the national economy and medicine.

Broad development was gained by the quantitative ecology studying dynamics separate ekol. systems, their productivity, and also modeling various ekol. processes. Modeling of structure and dynamics of the natural centers of diseases, and also dynamics of number of almost significant types, opens an opportunity for organization of events on prevention and elimination of the centers of diseases, on protection of a harvest, increase in productivity of hunting and fish farms, etc.

In the theoretical plan the direction of evolutionary ecology is important, the cut is the main objective identification ekol. patterns of evolutionary process, ways and forms of formation of specific adaptations, evolutions of biogeocenoses, and also reconstruction of ecological systems of the past of Earth (palaeoecology).

In maintenance of life as steady planetary phenomenon paramount value has a variety of forms of the live organisms differing with a set of the consumed substances and waste products emitted to the environment. The set of all forms of organisms providing continuous biogenic cycle of matter in the biosphere (see) shall include three large ekol. categories of organisms: producers (synthesize

organic matters from external energy sources, inorganic with use), konsument (consume ready organic matter) and reducers (consume a dead organic residues, decomposing them to inorganic components). At biogeocenoses, i.e. the natural communities which are carrying out a complete cycle of biogenic circulation there are all three ekol. the groups presented by specific types. Thus, the biogeocenosis represents the system of the interacting populations of a number of types of producers, konsument and reducers (i.e. a biocenosis) functioning in a certain geographical environment (biotope).

Biol. the system considered in its relationship with Wednesday represents ekol. system in a broad sense this word. Respectively and the biogeocenosis — functional unity of a biocenosis (see) and the inorganic environment, external in relation to it — is ecological system, and the concept «ecological system» (ecosystem) is usually used as a synonym of the term «biogeocenosis». The interpretation of the concept «ecosystem» extended long time as any community of live organisms (ecosystem of a pond, pool, hole, stub, etc.) it is not justified as such communities are dependent and do not provide a complete cycle of biogenic circulation.

Any ekol. the system is characterized by existence of specific function, the arranged interactions of the sub-systems making it (i.e. has structure) and the mechanisms of adaptation providing preservation of integrity of system against the background of constantly changing external conditions. The leading function of a biogeocenosis — maintenance of biogenic circulation, carried out as a result of interaction of the populations making a biocenosis (see Population) different types of the live organisms which are organized in trophic chains to-rye direct food bonds reflect. In these bonds different types are subordinated to the rule of «ecological pyramids», according to Krom total quantity of biomass and energy progressively decreases upon transition from the lowest links of food chains (see) to the highest. On the basis of food bonds in a biocenosis diverse space and functional relationship forms, in to-rykh each look holds the certain position designated as an ecological niche of a look (see the Look).

Large number and an ecological variety entering e a biocenosis of types, plurality of forms of interaction between them cause stability of biogeotseno-tichesky systems and their ability is adaptive to be reconstructed during the change of conditions of the environment.

Populations of separate types act as a part of a biocenosis as subsystems, the main function to-rykh consists in providing a certain link in biogenic cycle of matter and is defined by specific properties of metabolism. At the same time population (see) is a form of existence of a look in specific conditions of the environment, and in this quality she acts as independent biol. the system, function a cut is preservation and reproduction of a look in these conditions. Representing set of freely crossed individuals (see the Individual), population has certain genetic specifics and acts as elementary unit of evolutionary process (see Theory of evolution). The separate organism (individual) is a part of population as the strukturnofunktsionalny subsystem holding a certain position in population interrelations and performing the functions corresponding to this situation in all-population processes. At the same time separate organism represents specific unit of a metabolism, and in this function he acts as independent biol. the system which is in close interrelations with external conditions.

Hierarchical hierarchy and close functional associativity biol. systems of different levels of the organization causes the integrated nature of manifestations of life in the biosphere of Earth. It defines the main task E., edges consists in studying of organismal, population and biogeotsenotichesky levels of the organization ekol. systems. At such approach traditional division E. on individual ecology (ecology of separate types) and a synecology (ecology of communities and biogeocenoses) reflects the real ways of researches determined most often by practical requests.

The biosphere in general represents the complex system including biological and inorganic components of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and a lithosphere. Various forms of activity of the person became one of the most significant factors operating in the biosphere. The century of a scientific and technological revolution means transition of the biosphere to a new form, to-ruyu V. I. Vernadsky called a noosphere — the sphere of the leading value of human mind. Studying of processes at the level of a noosphere in general cannot be limited only to ecosystem approach: it shall include all sections of natural sciences along with a research of economic and economic and social and political aspects.

According to increase of a role of studying of interaction of the person with the biosphere scales of researches in the field of ecology extended. In particular, in the USSR such researches are conducted at many institutes of Academy of Sciences of the USSR and federal republics, at universities and departmental scientific and scientific and practical institutions. Since 1964 within the International biological program studying of productivity of ecological systems in various areas of the globe is carried out. Researches of effects of impact of activity of the person on the biosphere are combined by the international program «Person and Biosphere».

The network of biosphere reserves is created, in to-rykh stationary researches on environmental monitoring of reference landscape ecosystems are conducted. On the basis of ecological knowledge scientific bases of a number of aspects of environmental control are developed. The international society of ecologists (INTEKOL) combining efforts of ecologists of many countries is created. Much attention is paid to ecological education. So, in the USSR courses of the general ecology and protection of the environment are included in programs of all universities, teacher training Universities and some other educational institutions.

The main editions, in to-rykh publish results of researches on E. the USSR is: «Magazine of the general biology», «Ecology», «The botanical magazine», «The zoological magazine», «Oceanology», «Biology of the sea», etc. Are abroad published: «Ecology» (USA), «Journal of Animal Ecology» (England), «Ekolo-gia Polska» (Poland), etc.

Social and philosophical environmental problems. In the second half of 20 century transformation of mankind into the new «biogenic force» on the planet especially clearly revealed the dialectic nature of social-and-ecological processes. On the one hand, conditions of a scientific and technological revolution are created by objective premises for the increasing satisfaction of material and spiritual needs of the person, and to another — there is an aggravation of contradictions between the person and the nature. The concept about the global problems, i.e. the problems infringing on interests of all mankind and demanding for the permission of the international cooperation arose and was created. Among global problems of the present along with prevention of world thermonuclear accident one of the major places occupies the complex of social-and-ecological problems including rationalization of environmental management and nature protection, prevention of degrada-tsionny changes of the biosphere, improvement of its qualitative characteristics.

AA. increasingly is considered not only as the section of biology, but also as the forming independent area of knowledge which is engaged in the analysis of the most various aspects of relationship of society and the nature, development of scientific strategy and solutions of the arising social-and-ecological problems. The tendency to ecologization of knowledge, i.e. to penetration of the ecological ideas, representations and concepts in structure of modern sciences about the nature and society, reflects fundamental nature of nature of social-and-ecological processes. The new approach of the person and society to the nature considering realities of modern social-and-ecological processes is based on dialektiko-materialistic representations, interrelation of natural sciences, the equipment and social sciences, on originally scientific principles of environmental management. Even the recent trend in E was created. — social ecology, a cut social mechanisms of interrelation of human society with the environment became a subject of studying.

In the course of construction of the developed socialism there are many objective and subjective difficulties concerning, in particular, efficiency of implementation of actions for nature protection, rational environmental management and recovery of natural resources. Improvement of the developed socialism means more and more full implementation of advantages of qualitatively new society, connection in practice of achievements of a socialist system and a scientific and technological revolution that creates premises for constructive overcoming contradictions within relationship of society and the nature.

However effective prevention of a degrad of tsionny changes of the biosphere demands an exit out of limits of national, subregional and regional interests. Further concentration of efforts internationally is necessary for practical permission of a sotsialnoekologichesky problem. Historical experience demonstrates that the states with various social order can come to the mutually acceptable arrangements concerning all system of problems the relation society — the nature.

Bibliography: Vernadsky V. I.

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I. A. Shilov; V. A. Los (Phil.) „