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There's certainly a lot of interaction between the interactions between organisms and the environment - that's what ecology is all about.

As for where ecologists interact: some certainly interact with earth scientists, and ecologists generally seem more similar to earth scientists than they are to other biologists (e.g. molecular biology). But they do tend to have their own conferences.

I'm also curious: what about how climate change affects individual organisms or biomes?

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  • $\begingroup$ Could someone tag this with "scope"? $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 23 '14 at 3:12
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I think ecology as such is not really Earth Science, and fits better on the Biology stack exchange.

However, the biosphere certainly has an important role for the Earth. So I would say that if it is about interaction between the biosphere and other parts of the Earth system, it is on-topic. But if it is about ecological niches of species in an ecosystem, I think it is off-topic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hard to discuss the carbon cycle without both tectonics and life. $\endgroup$ – Steve Emmerson Apr 15 '14 at 21:48
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    $\begingroup$ Sure, certainly some ecology questions are on-topic. But not all. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 15 '14 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, this will ultimately come down to the specific question. If it is more likely to be answered well on biology.SE, then it should be asked there. Also, while it would be good to avoid exact duplicates, there is no problem with having quite similar questions on both sites, preferably each playing to the strength of the site it is posted on. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 16 '14 at 1:29
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Ecology is the study of organisms interacting with each other and the chemical and physical environment. Many domains of of ecology fit, including ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology, and biological oceanography to name a few that come to mind. These fields are well represented at/in the meetings/journals of the American and European Geophysical Unions.

But it depends on scale and scope of the question. While biology.se has an ecology tag, the topics I have listed here are not well represented on that site and I believe fit well here.

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As with many other subjects Earth Science and, perhaps particularly, Physical Geography overlaps with many other disciplines. In my department we have a strong group of Landscape ecologists that study the geography of ecology (i.e. plant dispersal, historical changes in the landscapes (ecology) to mention a couple). There will be many such mixes in our subjects. An emerging topic is also research on resilience which is truly inter-disciplinary but which has a very strong base in Earth/environmental science. In glaciology we work with numerical ice sheet models and so one could easily dismiss some of that as as math/numerics. One could also see that there are legal or political aspects to environmental questions in areas where one could place questions as pure law or political science but where the questions are strongly linked and must be handled in a cross-disciplinary way. In general, cross- or interdisciplinary questions are hard to categorize and are very likely to be fended off from all sites. So I think being inclusive will be an advantage, however, I do not say judging this is easy.

So it will be a challenge to discern how ecological questions are related to Earth Science but if geographical aspects are involved, they definitely are. It would also be simple to ask the OP to clarify how their question relates to Earth Science just like we do with many other questions.

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