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Title: Three selected ecological observations interpreted in terms of a thermodynamic hypothesis. Contribution to a general theoretical framework
Authors: Marques, João Carlos 
Jørgensen, Sven Erik 
Keywords: Ecological observations; Integrated interpretation; Thermodynamic hypothesis; General theoretical framework
Issue Date: 2002
Citation: Ecological Modelling. 158:3 (2002) 213-221
Abstract: Biology and ecology are, in many ways, lacking universal laws and predictive theory, and most biologists and ecologists have been feeling the need for a more general and integrative theoretical network that may help in explaining their observations and experimental results. Thermodynamics has been widely applied in ecosystem theory since input, output, and cycling of mass and energy constitute the basis of ecological processes without exception. In this paper, we try to show that it is possible to explain different empirical biological and ecological observations in terms of a comprehensive thermodynamic hypothesis, instead of interpreting results according to a number of non-universal generalisations (e.g. the optimal partition theory or the [`]generalised niche model'). The intention is to contribute to the elaboration of a general theoretical framework in biology and ecology, of which the thermodynamic hypothesis could be a part. The proposed approach is shown to be robust enough to provide an integrated explanation for the selected set of observations, and the fact that it was able to explain field observations and experiments supports the hypothesis. A stepwise approach is employed in developing a consistent theoretical framework, considered necessary to build new horizons for biology and ecology.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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