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Does anyone consider ecology a hard science?

  1. Mar 9, 2014 #1
    I want to work in ecology and I think it has potential to be a harder science. I like hard sciences and I think sometimes ecology has the image of being a soft science. Does anyone know of the progress being made in ecology? Give me some advice perhaps? Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2014 #2
    I took an ecology class last semester which had a strong emphasis on the transfer of energy in ecological systems. It was actually more challenging than I anticipated. The course required a good amount of knowledge about chemistry and biochemistry. I was also required to learn about things such as electron transport chains, phosphate chains, and a good deal about how the different types of respiration work. I am no expert, but I would think that ecology might be a harder science than the average person may assume it to be. As for the progress being made, I think that you may need to look into specific fields and decide what about ecology interests you. I know that many universities are doing research into past climate systems and prehistoric ecology, which would definitely interest me. But as I said before, I am no expert. I wish you the best of luck though!
     
  4. Mar 9, 2014 #3
    I consider ecology a hard science. By the description hard, you may mean a science with strong mathematical support, where correctness and incorrectness is evident to a greater degree, than "softer" science

    I do think many students confuse ecology with environmental science. I am not as well acquainted with environmental science so I cannot say if it is hard or soft. An interesting and readable approach to Ecology, (although not a textbook) is Paul Colinveaux, Why Big Fierce Animals are Rare.
     
  5. Mar 9, 2014 #4
    Thanks guys that is all encouraging to hear.

    mpresic said: "I do think many students confuse ecology with environmental science."

    sometimes I have trouble separating them too. I feel like I side more with ecology but I sometimes wonder if environmental science will be more useful.
     
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