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Prognosis of ecology as a hard science?

  1. Mar 9, 2014 #1
    Does anyone here consider ecology a hard science?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2014 #2


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    To the extent that I agree with the hard/soft dichotomy (which isn't much) yes it is. Why do you think otherwise?

    Also FYI: a prognosis is a prediction of the likely course a medical condition will take. It's use in the thread title is incorrect.
  4. Mar 9, 2014 #3
    Ecosystems are pretty darn dynamic and complex. Lots of sophisticated modeling and analysis is done.
  5. Mar 9, 2014 #4
    I agree that hard and soft is ultimately contrived, every science has a potential of being hard. It's just sometimes ecology has the impression of being soft and I'm wondering if there truly is more to the field. You do think it is hard? What areas are hardest?

    Also thanks for correcting me on the word usage of prognosis.
  6. Mar 12, 2014 #5
  7. Mar 14, 2014 #6
    I have worked some years with predator-prey dynamics of fish an it is damn hard :-) Just to give an example of a highly cited model for fish dynamics (perch in Swedish lakes):
    And this is just a single-species model. Extending this to several species and applying it to the real world is not very soft. Ör just go to the latest issue of the journal Ecology (http://www.esajournals.org/toc/ecol/95/2) and have a look at the titles (some of the papers are marked as open access, too). So I would say that ecology with few exceptions is a hard field in the sense of "being based on objectively recorded data". However, one might get a quite different impression if you just base your impression on what is written in the news.
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