United States
United States

Time filter

Source Type

Rodriguez R.A.,Miami University Ohio | Herrera A.M.,The Womans Group | Duncan J.,Miami University Ohio | Quiros A.,National Park Los Caimanes | And 10 more authors.
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2016

The influence of quantum ecological uncertainty (QEU: a discrete statistical trade-off between the standard deviations of species diversity and energy, two indicators that are essential to define the ecological niche of every species), has been proposed as a plausible explanation to the debate between the competitive exclusion principle (CEP) and the hypothesis of functional redundancy (HFR). The debate CEP ↔ HFR is a manifestation of the wide spectrum of issues connected with a very important problem in ecology: the so-called “biodiversity paradox” (i.e.: How is it possible that so many species can coexist despite the underlying influence of interspecific competition?). Any testable theoretical alternative to explain species coexistence depends on an accurate assessment of the ecological niche in practice. However, under QEU, the assessment of ecological niche cannot be as accurate as we want due to an objective limitation of nature: the above-mentioned trade-off. Consequently, it is nonsense following the debate about this topic in the conventional way; it is necessary to change our traditional point of view about this issue in order to develop a non-conventional interpretation of ecosystem functioning. However, QEU has been strongly criticized in a recently published article. This article is devoted to clarify certain misunderstandings whose nature is evident by reading the above-mentioned criticism and its precursory publications in comparison with the spectrum of articles that supports QEU. The general fulfillment of QEU has also been questioned by the above-mentioned criticism, so it is additionally supported in this article by a noticeably abbreviated inclusion of results from field data, surveyed under different circumstances in comparison with previous data, from two inland water taxocenes (zooplankton rotifers and crustaceans, Acton Lake, Ohio, U.S.A.) to which this model has not been applied so far. Our general conclusion is that the criticism to QEU has been groundlessly proposed due to epistemological inaccuracies; fragmentary understanding about the principles connected with QEU; as well as an incomplete literature review. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Rodriguez R.A.,Lucy Avenue | Herrera A.M.,The Womans Group | Santander J.,Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano | Miranda J.V.,Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2016

How complex systems are able to self-organize away from equilibrium and maintain their internal functional gradients over time, by adapting themselves and changing their own environment? This is one of the most interesting questions for contemporary ecology because of its potential usefulness to assess the ecological health of our natural environment by means of ecological monitoring. This article shows how a replacement and complementation of variables, that is very simple from the mathematical point of view, can be useful to transform the state equation previously developed to describe stationary ecological conditions into a state equation for non-stationary ecological conditions. The method applied was (a) empirically tested starting from field data collected from five surveys belonging to four different kinds of taxocenosis and (b) explained in a very brief and didactic way that can be easily understandable to everybody with a standard undergraduate training in ecological studies. The main result of this article is a simple mathematical equation that can be useful to perform an instantaneous assessment of the state and trend of ecosystem development in the short run starting from a single survey, that is to say, without the availability of long time series of data that allows the conventional studies of comparative ecology in order to assess the course of ecological succession. This proposal adds an innovative diagnostic tool empirically useful for ecological monitoring. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Rodriguez R.A.,Lucy Street | Herrera A.M.,The Womans Group | Riera R.,Institute Pesquisas | Escudero C.G.,University of La Laguna | Delgado J.D.,Pablo De Olavide University
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2015

A new and wide area of theoretical and methodological overlap between ecology and conventional physics has emerged from the development of an ecological state equation and its consequences. Specifically, the discontinuous (discrete) increase of the ecological equivalent (ke) of Boltzmann's constant (kB) suggests a startling hypothesis: most general principles of quantum mechanics could be valid at the ecosystem level. In this paper, we show a single result supported on previous theoretical results as well as on already published data: that a significant and robust straight line adjustment with an intercept at the coordinate's origin between the mean value of eco-kinetic energy per individual and ke at the inter-taxocenosis scale has a regression constant (slope) whose mantissa coincides with the Planck's constant mantissa at the 1000th level. From this result, we propose two simple equations, with increasing exactness, to assess the expected mean values of individual eco-kinetic energy per survey at the inter-taxocenosis level with a reliable statistical adjustment in comparison with the respective observed values. This result means that the evolutionary process as a whole could be understood as a "staggered propulsion" of a tiny initial clot of life that has been ecologically driven across a discontinuous evolutionary gradient of exchange of information by trophic energy with an increment rate ruled by constant quantum parameters. The potential meaning of this finding for evolutionary ecology and our understanding of the ecosystem functioning is analyzed, and the future challenges to develop a holistic theoretical framework based on this result are stated. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Rodriguez R.A.,Independent Researcher | Herrera A.M.,The Womans Group | Riera R.,Institute Pesquisas | Santander J.,Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano | And 10 more authors.
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2015

Despite the well-known thermodynamic traits of ecosystem functioning, their description by means of conventional physics should be regarded as incomplete, even if we take into account the most recent advancements in this field. The analytical difficulties in this field have been especially complex to get a reliable modeling of species diversity per plot (Hp) by endowing this indicator with a fully clear theoretical meaning. This article contributes to resolve such difficulties starting from (a) the previous proposal of an ecological state equation, and (b) the preceding empirical finding of an ecological equivalent of Planck's constant at the evolutionary scale. So, in the first instance, this article proposes an equation for density distributions of Hp values (EDH) based on a simple transformation of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution for molecular velocity values (M-BDv). Our results indicate that the above-mentioned equation allows an appropriate fit between expected and observed distributions. Besides, the transformation from M-BDv to EDH establishes connections between species diversity and other indicators that are consistent with well-known ecological principles. This article, in the second instance, uses EDHs from a wide spectrum of surveys as an analytical framework to explore the nature and meaning of stationary trophic information waves (STIWs) whose stationary nature depends on the biomass-dispersal trade-off in function of Hp values (B-DTO-H) that characterizes the most of the explored surveys. B-DTO-H makes these surveys behave as ecological cavity resonators (ECR) by trapping functional oscillations that bounce back and forth between the two opposite edges of the ECR: from r-strategy (at low biomass and diversity, and high dispersal) to K-strategy, and vice versa. STIWs were obtained by using the spline-adjusted values from the arithmetical difference between standardized values of species richness (S) and evenness (J') in function of Hp values (i.e., a 2D scalar space Hp, S-J'). Twice the distance on the abscissas (2δHp) between successive extreme values on the ordinates (whatever a maximum or a minimum) along the above-mentioned spline adjustment was taken as the value of ecological wavelength (λe). λe was assessed in order to obtain the value of the ecological equivalent of Planck's constant (heec) at the intra-survey scale that was calculated as: heec=λe×me×Ie; where me: individual biomass, and Ie: an ad-hoc indicator of dispersal activity. Our main result is that the observed value of heec's mantissa is statistically equivalent to the mantissa of the physical Planck's constant (h=6.62606957E-34Js) in all of the discontinuous (i.e., with interspersed categories in which n=0) statistical density distributions of Hp values per survey. This means that heec=6.62606957EϕJenat/individual, where ϕ=-xi, . ., -3, -2, -1, 0,+1, +2, +3, . .,+xi depending on the type of taxocenosis explored. That is to say, heec indicates the minimum amount of energy exchange allowed between two individuals. The exploration of the analytical meaning of this result in the final sections of the article explains why quantum mechanics (QM) is a useful tool in order to explain several key questions in evolutionary biology and ecology, as for example: the physical limit of adaptive radiation; the balance between competitive exclusion and functional redundancy to promote species coexistence by avoiding the negative effects of competitive exclusion; the apparent holes in the fossil record; the progression of body size along a wide spectrum of taxa as a general evolutionary trend; the non-continuous nature of net energy flow at the ecosystem level; the way in which the energy level is stabilized under stationary ecological conditions; the reasons of the higher sensitivity of high diversity ecosystems under environmental impact despite their higher stability under natural conditions; the tangible expression of complex concept as ecological inertia and elasticity; as well as the increased risk from pushing the biosphere until a rupture limit because of the potential discrete behavior of ecological resilience in the large scale due to the quantum nature of ecosystem functioning. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Rodriguez R.A.,Independent Researcher | Herrera A.M.,The Womans Group | Santander J.,Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano | Miranda J.V.,Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano | And 10 more authors.
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2015

There has been a categorically unresolved crucial question in ecology and evolutionary theory for many decades; perhaps from the times of Charles Darwin himself: Is it possible, under natural conditions, that two species can perform a commonly shared ecological niche? There are two extreme conventional responses that have kept divided the scientific community in this regard for almost forty years: (a) No; that is to say, the well-known competitive exclusion principle (CEP). (b) Yes; that is to say, the well-known hypothesis of full functional redundancy (HFR). Obviously, the reliability of both responses depends on an underlying and even more essential requisite: that the ecological niche of a given species can be assessed with such accuracy as we could want in order to detect the degree in which it is shared between coexisting species. This article is the seventh in a continuous series of interconnected recent publications that promotes an alternative understanding of ecology and evolutionary biology which is in favor of strong and mutually fruitful analytical links between biology and physics. This article analyzes the statistical behavior of ecological niches by taking into account two indicators that are essential to perform the ecological niche of all species: species diversity per plot (Hp) and eco-kinetic energy (Ee) as a proxy for trophic energy in a scalar field Hp, Ee in which an oscillating performance of ecological niches is deployed. According to our results, in the same measurement in which the accuracy of Hp assessments increases (reduction of Hp's standard deviation: σHp) the accuracy of Ee assessment decreases (increment of σEe), and vice versa, in agreement with a pattern that is completely equivalent to that of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics (i.e.: σHpσEe1/2heec/2π where heec: ecological equivalent of Planck's constant found in previous publications). As a result, the ecological niche is, even in principle in addition to in practice, indeterminable with enough exactness to arrive to a categorical response to the above-stated question. This means that CEP and HFR are simultaneously true and false in the same measure, because the only feasible option to keep the functional stability of ecosystems is a wave-like combination of both options: when species are pushed to a high degree of coexistence (increase of partition of the gradient) in regard to Hp values (a trend in favor of HFR), their degree of coexistence in regard to Ee values diminishes (decrease of partition of the Ee gradient, a trend in favor of CEP), and vice versa. The final sections of the article highlight the eco-evolutionary, biogeographical and socio-economic meaning of this result, by offering plausible alternative explanations to a wide spectrum of phenomena that appear to be only partially understood so far, e.g.: the contradictory results about the relationship between body size, species diversity and macroevolutionary rates; the general environmental scenario in favor of macroevolutionary leaps with a low probability to leave footprints in the fossil record; the unnecessary, although stimulant, influence of geographic isolation to promote evolutionary changes; the island rule; and the general meaning of the interaction between nature and society. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Rodriguez R.A.,Lucy Avenue | Herrera A.M.,The Womans Group | Quiros A. Angel,Parque Nacional Los Caimanes | Fernandez-Rodriguez M.J.,Pablo De Olavide University | And 9 more authors.
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2016

This article performs an analysis of the article in which Claude E. Shannon proposed his now famous H measure of information amount, by finding that four crucial traits analyzed by Shannon in regard to the meaning of H in information theory (i.e.: (a) introduction of a constant ad hoc - k - in order to achieve a formal connection between the statistical dimension of H and a given system of measurement units; (b) redundancy measurement; (c) joint events; and (d) conditional information) have strong theoretical connections with several important and well-known ecological phenomena (i.e.: (a') extensive measurement of ecological entropy in quasi-physical units; (b') theoretical meaning and successional behavior of redundancy; (c') competitive exclusion; and (d') ecological niche resilience, respectively). This set of corresponding connections (a, b, c, d, vs. a', b', c', d') has not been reported in the literature ever before, and it is fully understandable from the ecological viewpoint, despite the fact that the proposal from Shannon is previous and fully independent in comparison with any posterior attempt to establish a connection between ecology, physics and information theory. So, in practice, Shannon was also investigating in ecology and evolutionary biology, despite he was neither an ecologist nor an evolutionary biologist. In summary, our set of results: (i) implies that Shannon was an spontaneous ecologist, or at least an unwitting founder of ecological science such that, after Shannon, every ecologist of ecosystems can thus be viewed as a sort of "computer technician of nature"; (ii) highlights the fruitfulness of thinking about natural history in interdisciplinary terms; and (iii) expands the theoretical justification for applying H as a key indicator to build reliable models that are coherent with the principles of ecology, evolutionary biology, information theory and physics. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Loading The Womans Group collaborators
Loading The Womans Group collaborators