Research Topic

Unifying Ecology Across Scales: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities

About this Research Topic

Ecology is the science of living systems, with a vast empirical domain that includes a single protist searching for resources to the sustainability of the global ecosystem. This Research Topic builds on recent efforts to unify understanding of disparate ecological systems and clades across scales into a single framework. The idea is to identify progress, challenges and opportunities associated with current approaches based on flows of energy and materials across scales from organisms to ecosystem.

Particularly, we would like to encourage papers that address current gaps in existing theories, and to advance approaches for filling these gaps to lead to a more efficient ecological unification.
This Research Topic will bring together research papers that use different approaches in diverse ecological systems to broaden our perspective on how to unify ecology across scales. Approaches should involve theory development and/or laboratory-based empirical science. Themes will likely include: flows of energy and nutrients across levels of biological organization, adaptive dynamics, life-history theory, structural information (e.g., classic metrics of biodiversity, genomes, of food web modules), semiotic information (communication, organismal traits and cognition), population dynamics. Papers should address any of these themes in metabolic ecology, behavioral ecology, biodiversity, stoichiometry, allometric scaling, temperature effects on ecosystems, and information in physics.

Potential synergies between metabolic scaling theory, ecological stoichiometry, concepts of information, population dynamics and life-history theory should lead to new insights and better understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes and outcomes. This Research Topic is therefore targeted for every scientist interested in a coherent, multi-scale ecological science. We strongly believe that a unified ecological science can help address major challenges like identifying limits to consequences of global change, designing exploitation and conservation systems that respect the flows of information, matter and energy as components of resilience, and integrating these flows into a cohesive predictive framework for the evolution of organisms under a changing world.

We believe this theme is timely. Humans dominate the planet's ecology, and yet scientists struggle to understand the laws governing living systems that span such broad scales of space, time and biological organization. It is our hope that this Research Topic will span the fields of ecology, evolution, physics, information theory, network science and physiology to further foster the discussion surrounding this topic and accelerate its development.


Keywords: Metabolic ecology, stoichiometry, information, life-history theory, biodiversity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Ecology is the science of living systems, with a vast empirical domain that includes a single protist searching for resources to the sustainability of the global ecosystem. This Research Topic builds on recent efforts to unify understanding of disparate ecological systems and clades across scales into a single framework. The idea is to identify progress, challenges and opportunities associated with current approaches based on flows of energy and materials across scales from organisms to ecosystem.

Particularly, we would like to encourage papers that address current gaps in existing theories, and to advance approaches for filling these gaps to lead to a more efficient ecological unification.
This Research Topic will bring together research papers that use different approaches in diverse ecological systems to broaden our perspective on how to unify ecology across scales. Approaches should involve theory development and/or laboratory-based empirical science. Themes will likely include: flows of energy and nutrients across levels of biological organization, adaptive dynamics, life-history theory, structural information (e.g., classic metrics of biodiversity, genomes, of food web modules), semiotic information (communication, organismal traits and cognition), population dynamics. Papers should address any of these themes in metabolic ecology, behavioral ecology, biodiversity, stoichiometry, allometric scaling, temperature effects on ecosystems, and information in physics.

Potential synergies between metabolic scaling theory, ecological stoichiometry, concepts of information, population dynamics and life-history theory should lead to new insights and better understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes and outcomes. This Research Topic is therefore targeted for every scientist interested in a coherent, multi-scale ecological science. We strongly believe that a unified ecological science can help address major challenges like identifying limits to consequences of global change, designing exploitation and conservation systems that respect the flows of information, matter and energy as components of resilience, and integrating these flows into a cohesive predictive framework for the evolution of organisms under a changing world.

We believe this theme is timely. Humans dominate the planet's ecology, and yet scientists struggle to understand the laws governing living systems that span such broad scales of space, time and biological organization. It is our hope that this Research Topic will span the fields of ecology, evolution, physics, information theory, network science and physiology to further foster the discussion surrounding this topic and accelerate its development.


Keywords: Metabolic ecology, stoichiometry, information, life-history theory, biodiversity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2018 Abstract
31 August 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2018 Abstract
31 August 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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