Meeting Abstract

PLEN.1  Saturday, Jan. 3 19:30  Integrative and Comparative Ecology SEBENS, Kenneth P; University of Washington, Seattle

The integrative and comparative theme runs through all areas comprising SICB, and is a hallmark of our approach to research. Ecologists have been almost forced to use this approach, given the complex nature of the systems they study. The Grand Challenges in Organismal Biology, which SICB helped to define over the past few years, focus on the interface between organisms and the environment, which can be investigated through research on physiology, behavior, mechanics, physics, genetics, and evolutionary biology, for example. These are all in some sense ecological studies, since the science of ecology is all about studying the organism in its environment, which then transitions to populations, communities and ecosystems as appropriate and interesting topics of research. Ecology is integrative, because it employs techniques and models from a variety of disciplines, and it is comparative because it seeks to find processes that structure biological communities, and that are common across disparate systems. Ecological studies integrate and compare across phyla, from microorganisms to animals and plants, at all size scales. Examples of comparative and integrative approaches are provided from several decades of research on energetics, population biology and community ecology in marine intertidal and subtidal habitats.