Dr. Rafi Kent | Dr. Helena Zhevelev
Ecology is a field of science dealing with interactions between organisms and their environment. In a broad sense, humans are a part of that environment. In the ecological and environmental studies conducted in the department, there is an emphasis on the effects of humans on the environment and on the organisms and ecosystems that exist in that environment. For example, human land-use have a powerful effect on the distribution and dispersal a myriad of species, on the management of natural and semi-natural ecosystems such as ecological corridors and reserve network planning, urban ecology, effects of marine ecosystem modification on ground water in the aquiphers, and the consequences of water desalination on coastal ecosystems. All these stand at the core of ecological and environmental research.
In addition to human effects on natural ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them, many studies in the department involve more basic ecological and environmental questions, such as the effects of environmental variables like climate and topography on species assemblages at multiple spatial scales, the relationship between species and genetic diversity in ecological communities, and the effects of land cover on soil retention processes.
The link between ecology and geography was not always recognized. However, as ecological and environmental questions become increasingly spatially explicit, that link becomes more obvious. The questions that stand in the core of the studies conducted in the department bare a distinct spatial component, and thus cannot be distinguished from classical physical geography.