Thursday, August 22, 2013

A cost of ecology becoming more experimental?

Ecology as a scientific discipline has become more experimental, more quantitative, and more concerned with investigating phenomena in the highly controlled environments of laboratory microcosms, the greenhouses, and under closely regulated field conditions. There are excellent reasons for this: having accumulated a tremendous amount of information about the distribution and abundance of organisms on Earth, it is useful to evaluate hypotheses about the processes regulating populations and ecological communities, and the ecosystems processes that connect them.  But what are the costs associated with this approach, especially since it superseded the more traditional approaches of natural history? 

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