Organism Center Stage

Frank N. Egerton

in Roots of Ecology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780520271746
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520953635 | DOI:
Organism Center Stage

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Botany and zoology became more specialized during the 1700s. Hales introduced sophisticated experimentation into plant physiology in early 1700s, but further progress had to wait until chemists learned to identify the atmospheric gases that influence plant growth. By the 1780s and 1790s, that chemical knowledge was achieved and led to a new understanding of plant physiology. Simultaneously, studies on fungi led to suspicions that some plant diseases were caused by parasitic fungi, which was soon confirmed in experiments. A similar trend occurred in the study of invertebrates. As their natural histories were explored, the knowledge of parasites increased. Réaumur's influence ensured that entomology also continued to flourish. Derham, Ray's disciple, discussed animal populations in Physico-Theology, making the concept of a balance of nature more explicit than before. Bradley and others calculated the potential rate of increase of species to show that predators were essential to maintain stable numbers. Several theologians discussed human population growth, of whom Malthus is most famous.

Keywords: botany in 1700s; zoology in 1700s; Hales; plant physiology; parasitic fungi; Derham; Malthus

Chapter.  15717 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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