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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Functionnal Ecology Conference

Countours of functional ecology

A brief essay written by Jacques Roy (CNRS)
Word cloud about functional ecology

(c) Boettiger Group, UC Berkeley

The contours of functional ecology, probably more than for other branches of ecology like population ecology, theoretical ecology … need to be discussed due to the various meanings of ‘function’ (Jax 2005) associated with diverse ecological contexts. Functional ecology was originally defined at the organism level (Calow 1987), but many functional processes of organisms (photosynthesis, nutrients use) are also taking place at the ecosystem level and some concepts (e.g. resource use efficiencies) are valid across scales. The function can also be seen as the role played by a system with regards to external beneficiaries (e.g. the role of ecosystem for society, or the role of an organ to the organism fitness). The functions are performed by structures, determined primarily by evolution (organs), man (landscape) or climate (biomes).  These structures are analysed by specific sciences (anatomy, community ecology, landscape ecology, geography) and the study of the functional processes will often draw on the results of, or need the collaboration between, these sciences.