Science Inventory

Ecological periodic tables: In principle and practice

Citation:

FERRARO, S. P. Ecological periodic tables: In principle and practice. Presented at Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), Daytona Beach, FL, November 06 - 10, 2011.

Impact/Purpose:

The chemical periodic table, the Linnaean system of classification and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram are iconic information organizing structure in chemistry, biology and astronomy, respectively, because they are simple, exceptionally useful and they foster the expansion of scientific understanding and inquiry.

Description:

The chemical periodic table, the Linnaean system of classification and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram are iconic information organizing structure in chemistry, biology and astronomy, respectively, because they are simple, exceptionally useful and they foster the expansion of scientific understanding and inquiry. Ecological periodic tables are information organizing structures for ecology. Their foundational principle is the ecological tenet that the biological-physical-chemical environment, that is habitats, structure biotic communities. In practice, constructing ecological periodic tables begins with operationally defined habitat types. Quantitative field studies conducted on ecologically appropriate temporal and spatial scales for the biotic community of interest are then needed to determine their usage pattern across the habitat types. If the patterns are predictably recurring (periodic), the habitat types have been adequately defined for the epistemological purpose. If not, the original operational definitions of the habitat types were flawed or incomplete and further research is needed to parameterize them. Once periodic biotic patterns have been found, the habitat types and properties of the target biotic community, for example, its species richness, abundance and biomass, can be entered into tables rich in ecological and resource management-relevant information. Ecological periodic tables for nekton and benthic macrofaunal usage of estuarine habitats will be presented and discussed along with a rule set to systematically organize the habitat types of tables. Like the aforementioned iconic information organizing structures, ecological periodic tables are simple, exceptionally useful and they foster the expansion of scientific understanding and inquiry.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 11/08/2011
Record Last Revised: 11/29/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 235241

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH