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Ecology as an interdisciplinary science


The Ecology is interdisciplinary science which studies the interactions between all living beings and their environment, but also the interactions of living beings to each other ...




Prof. DSc Ilia Hristov provide the National Association "Black Sea" their scientific material the theme: "The Environment as an interdisciplinary science." This is the second in a series of articles about ecology, through which we would like to provide the public with objective and scientifically sound information about what's ecology, its tasks, the possible symbiosis between man and nature, and to break false stereotypes superimposed on various occasions in awareness.




Why ecology is an interdisciplinary science?

Ecology is an interdisciplinary science which studies the interactions between all living beings and their environment, but also the interactions of living beings among them. These interactions are biophysical and biochemical. When people are living beings, except those interactions are reviewed and social interactions.

Biology studies living organisms. Regularities of processes in complex natural environment and in living organisms, explore different aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and agricultural sciences using applied mathematics, informatics and computer equipment. When considering the human as a living organism in its social environment, we use the knowledge they have accumulated from medical and socio-economic sciences.

The disclosure of the nature of processes in living organisms and their complex relationship with both their environment and each other, is done using the methodology and knowledge of biophysics and biochemistry, agrarian and socio-economic sciences.

We should recognize that one of the main branches of ecology, agroecology is also interdisciplinary science.



Unity of animate and inanimate nature. Separation of the various sciences


It is known that the science of the ancients was a philosopher of nature. By the term "constitution", which means "nature", they designated the entire body of knowledge about the animate and inanimate nature. The separation of physics into two areas of knowledge: to animate and inanimate, happened gradually. The two areas are separated definitively relatively recently.

In 1802, for the first time, the term biology is used by Jean Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist. In the 19th century, biologists tried to define the boundary between the living and the undead. All their definitions boil down to tautological expression: "Life is life." Many biologists agree that some special "life force" keep living body by the action of external forces that seek to destroy it. They thought that living matter obeys its own laws, which have no relation to the laws of inanimate nature, or only an indirect link. This perception then they put the foundation of the idea that physics and biology are two independent sciences.

There is a need to respond to scientifically based questions:
● Are Different laws animate and inanimate?
● Can it prove that the world of living organisms act forces that are not inherent in inanimate nature?

Scientific evidence proves the unity of the laws of animate and inanimate nature. Here are some of them.
▲ Based on quantitative measurements and application of the laws of hydraulics, which is a branch of physics, Harvey explains the mechanism of blood circulation in the human body and animals in 1628
▲ Descartes and Leibniz discovered that mechanical laws are identical for inanimate and animate matter. It is known that the mechanics is a major part of physics.
▲ Lavoisier and Laplace showed that two fundamentally different chemistries for inorganic and organic bodies. For example, in the basis of respiration and heat build up in the body of humans and animals stand oxidation processes that take place and out of the living organisms (oxidation of the iron - rust).
▲ In the mid-19th century, Du Bois-Raymond explores the electricity in living organisms and establishes the following. "In the material particles of the organisms do not show any new forces can not operate without them. Therefore, no forces that deserve to be called vitality."
▲ In the mid-20th century, the Danish scientist Niels Bohr, one of the founders of quantum physics established the following conclusion: "Neither a result of biological research can not be clearly described and explained in any other way except by using the concepts and methodologies of physics and chemistry. "


Modern ecology, which studies the interactions between all living beings and their environment, but also the interactions of living beings to each other, not only biological science, and write some "biologists". These "biologists" and "environmentalists" are the main "green" ideologists and supporters very end solutions, some of which are scientifically-unjustified and deeply flawed, leading to primitivism in solving local and global environmental problems. They can not perceive the very essence that "the ecosystem is resource wealth of mankind, which is a set of interacting components of organic and inorganic, but bioactive, substance" (Wright, 1998). They can not perceive the essential difference between natural (natural) and anthropogenic (created intentionally by human activity) ecosystems. Protection of one and the other requires in-depth knowledge and experience, purposeful reasonable activities.


Complex scientific basis for solving global and regional environmental problems

Scientists define and comprehend the subject and methodology of biophysics and biochemistry as a complex scientific basis not only of modern biology but also ecology.

In 1982, world-renowned scientist H. R. Ivanitski gives contemporary definition of biophysics. He writes that: "Biophysics becomes the theoretical basis of modern biology. Biophysics is a science that studies the mechanisms and effects of different levels of structural organization of living systems. Biophysics is not descriptive science. One of the main objectives is to penetrate the essence of phenomena through the hierarchical construction of mathematical models of regularities of processes in living systems. "

World famous Bulgarian scientist, ecologist Professor. Nedialkov (2003) reveals the interdisciplinary nature of ecology through analysis and refinement of its main subject, namely the interrelationships and interactions of all living organisms (both with their environment, and between them) in ecosystems . These links and interactions are complex and occur in different biophysical and biochemical phenomena.

"Ecology must possess not only biology but also physics, chemistry and mathematics. These studies are the basis of his ability to use scientific knowledge to solve global and regional environmental problems critical importance for man and for the whole biosphere "(Wright, 1998).


Global environmental problems

Aggregated groups of global environmental problems are:

  • creation of methods and technologies for monitoring, protection and restoration of the natural environment, which is necessary for all human and biosphere;
  • development of prevention, diagnosis, maintenance and restoration of human health and animal health by factors of their environment;
  • search for optimal variants to provide people with environmentally friendly plant and animal products;
  • discovery and use of new biological sources to generate energy without pollution of the environment and so on..

Modern biophysics and biochemistry have:
(a) uniform principles for the study of animate and inanimate nature; and
(b) powerful and accurate quantitative methods to study the micro and macro world around us.
Biophysics and biochemistry of plants, animals and people, and also of the sea, land and space are directly related to ecology. Much knowledge of them are integral and necessary part of ecology (Christov, 2015). Knowledge in biophysics and biochemistry are particularly important in the construction of highly qualified specialists in ecology.

Agronomic physics and chemistry study:
(a) the solar radiation as a factor of formation of productivity of agro;
(b) dependence of the physiological processes in plants and animals of the factors of the environment;
(c) the formation of the organic substances; and many other cardinal problems of agri-environment;
(d) the optimization of water and nutrient status of plant populations to minimize or eliminate environmental pollution, namely, surface waters and groundwater (Christ, 2004 and 2012).

Some scientists focus on the study of the scientific basis of alternative agriculture. It is in agri-environment. Formulate problems of modern conventional farming, they create the scientific basis of agroecology (agricultural ecology). These scientists provide examples of model agricultural ecosystems by appropriate design and management (governance), which integrate environmental concepts. An example is the series of research on the environmental basis to combat harmful insects and pathogens and the development of alternative weed control.

In 1987, for example, Altieri offers a unified approach in which applies modern concept of agricultural ecosystems in the management of enemies. This approach includes:
● more research not only on self-production field, but on the whole biogeographical region in order to fully cover the management of enemies;
● use of certain regularities in the natural ecosystem management models enemies in agroecosystems; and
● application of knowledge of the relationships between plants, herbivorous insects and their natural enemies in order to establish key principles to improve the systems for biological control.

The basic concept of agroecosystems lies in the fact that it is an ecosystem that operates through complementary relationships between living organisms and their environment. These links are limited (limited) within certain limits, which maintain a stable dynamic equilibrium in space and time.

This requires studying the main features of the natural ecosystem, which give an idea of ​​the relationships between the structural and functional components in it.

Thus reaches the formulation of a general approach for the development of programs for managing pests of crops. It uses ecological principles to enhance the overall stability of agroecosystems rather than solving the problems after they occur.



- Nedialkov S. T.2003. Theory of ecology. - Ed. "PablishSaySet-Eco", Sofia, p. 449.
- Hristov, I. D. 2004. Evaluation of the water status of agro-ecosystems and the formation of water reserves in the soil. - Monograph Series Ecology, Eco-PablishSaySet, Sofia, p. 216, ISBN 954-749-044-3.
- Hristov, I. D. 2012. Monitoring and management of the water status of agro-ecosystems. - Monograph Series Ecology, Eco-PablishSaySet, Sofia, p. 262, ISBN 978-954-749-098.
- Christov, I. D.2015. Ecological Requirements and Agricultural Activities. - Journal of Balkan Ecology, 18 (1), 5-16.
- Wright, P. 1998. A-Z of the Environment. - In: Environment Encyclopaedia and Directory, World Survey, Second Edition, Europa Publications Limited, London, p. 560.