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date: 23 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ecological science, which studies the relationships between organisms and their environments, developed from natural history. Aristotle’s teleological chain of being and detailed description modeled natural history until the eighteenth century. Linnaeus and Buffon replaced Aristotelian categories with new criteria for classification, leading the way to Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Darwinian evolution depended on environmental factors and led to the birth of ecological science by the end of the nineteenth century. The ecosystem concept emphasizes populations and systems rather than individuals. Case studies, of wolves and fish show the range of modern ecological science. Anthropogenic changes to the environment have led to extinction and endangered species. Attempts to meliorate human influence include rewilding and synthetic biology.

Keywords: ecological science, chain of being, ecosystem, endangered species, evolution, extinction, natural history, rewilding, synthetic biology, taxonomy

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