Introduction: Blog Relaunch
Well, here goes nothing. I’ve tried multiple times to get this blog off the ground in various formats, but I have just never been able to make it what I really wanted it to be, or to be consistent enough in my posting to make it worth my energy. However, I think I have discovered more of a clear vision for it, and I (hopefully) have the motivation to make it stick this time. It is my goal to make this a dedicated ecology blog, with a bit of biology, conservation news, and natural history thrown in. I hope to have a “real” (ie, sciencey) post up soon, but for now here’s some FAQ on what I hope to accomplish here:
What is Ecology?
At it’s most basic definition, ecology is the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. This sounds simple, but in practice ecology is a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary field. The determination of what kind of study that does or does not constitute “ecology” may differ from scientist to scientist and institution to institution. The study of ecology and the study of evolution are intertwined, as almost all of of evolution is a result of pressures from the environment and from other organisms. Some of the other fields that may be considered part of or related to the study of ecology include animal behavior, plant ecology, evolutionary study, genetics, pollinator ecology, limnology, phenology, physiology, and many, many others. Personally, my own definition of ecology is broad and I consider any study that considers the actions of any organism in regards to its environment or it’s neighboring organism to be part of the study of ecology. Ecology is about connections.
Why Ecology? And Why A Blog?
There are lots of reasons why I chose to blog about ecology, and why I chose to blog at all. First of all, I picked ecology because that’s my passion. I studied it in college, and I really hope to continue my studies in the field in the future. I currently work as an agricultural scientist, and while agriculture (particularly pest management, where I currently work) has a great deal to do with ecology, conventional agriculture is very harmful to the environment and to many ecological relationships. The work that I actually do has virtually nothing to do with the study of relationships or how to better raise crops to maintain a health ecosystem, and is essentially “cut-and-paste” science, offering few chances for actual scientific investigation of an unanswered question. A blog that needs to be maintained is a great way to keep my hand in the field and to communicate things I find fascinating to the rest of the world.
I really hope to get back into a more active role in ecology, and I am hoping that having a blog to feed will help encourage me to keep up with the current literature and start flexing my ecology “muscles” again by spending time thinking, reading, and writing on the topic. It’s appalling how much I seem to have forgotten since college, and I know I need to use my education before I lose it forever. I am also hoping that devoting time to reading and writing about ecology will help me narrow down what areas I’m actually most interested in. It’s a big field, and while I hope to go back to school for it I would like to have a more focused answer than “ecology” to the question of what I actually want to study.
I also feel ecology is a vitally important area of study. No organism exists in isolation, and it can’t truly be studied as if it did. Environmental factors, interactions with other members of its species, and competition with other species all helped shape it into what it is today. Everything is truly connected and without the study of these connections we can never hope to understand our world as a whole, nor to prevent the catastrophes that can come from the removal of one species or a seemingly slight change to the environment.
Lastly, I really just enjoy talking, reading, and writing about ecology, and I feel that as a distinct field it has a lack of attention. It tends to get lumped into biology or evolution. And while there a huge amount of overlap with those fields, there are a lot of unique aspects to the study of ecology that I would like to help educate people about. I don’t know if my rusty knowledge is up to the task, but I would like to make this blog a resource to help people understand the principles of ecology as a whole, and why it’s study is important.
What Will I See Here?
Although I do want this mainly to be about ecology, I don’t plan on restricting myself totally if there are other science or news items that catch my interest. I hope to posts about recent discoveries and the newest literature in the field, as well as “primer” posts explaining a particular ecological phenomenon, term, or field of study. In addition I hope to post conservation news, links to other science blogs, nature photography, and even some book reviews. I am not totally sure how this will all shake out, and I hope you will be patient with me as I figure out what this blogging thing is all about!