Why is ecology considered multidisciplinary?

Multidisciplinary science definition

Multidisciplinarity is a non-integrative blend of several disciplines in which each discipline retains its methods and assumptions without change or development of other disciplines in the multidisciplinary relationship. Professionals involved in a multidisciplinary endeavor adopt collaborative relationships with common goals.[1]

Multidisciplinarity is clearly differentiated from interdisciplinarity because of the relationship shared by the disciplines. In a multidisciplinary relationship, this cooperation “may be mutual and cumulative but not interactive”[2] whereas interdisciplinarity blends the practices and assumptions of the disciplines involved. In other words, interdisciplinarity implies a higher degree of integration between disciplines.[3] Interdisciplinarity, in the realm of the discipline, is the same as interdisciplinary.

Multidisciplinary, in the health care setting, means that health care specialists from different professions work together to collaboratively provide diagnosis, assessment, and treatment, each within their scope of practice and area of competence.

Ecology as an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary science

Ecology . Science that studies the relationship between living beings and the environment, understood as the sum of abiotic factors (such as climate and geology) and biotic factors (organisms that share the habitat). It also analyzes the distribution and abundance of living beings as a result of this relationship. It is also a multidisciplinary science that draws on Biology, Climatology, Chemical Engineering, Mechanics, Ethics, etc.

Ancient Greek philosophers, such as Hippocrates and Aristotle, laid the foundations of ecology in their studies of natural history. Evolutionary concepts of adaptation and natural selection became cornerstones of modern ecological theory, transforming it into a more rigorous science in the 19th century. It is closely related to evolutionary biology, genetics and ethology. Understanding how biodiversity affects ecological function is an important area of focus in ecological studies. Ecologists try to explain:

Because ecology is considered an interdisciplinary science.

Students who come to graduate school in the “sciences” usually carry with them an undergraduate degree with the strength of one (or more than one discipline), depending on the courses taken at the undergraduate level and usually associated with the area of their graduation reflected in their undergraduate dissertation or thesis. Most come with a multi-disciplinary appreciation of the topics acquired, but aware of little or no interconnectedness that would allow them, in a graduate program, to tackle “a problem” that requires an inter-disciplinary educational approach.

The two, i.e., multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches are complementary. Neither should displace disciplinary knowledge, and it is up to the applicant’s talent to prevent one of them from being privileged. Especially because the depth of integrated basic-knowledge of both is the path required to face the “knowledge-mosaic” of a graduate program.

It is not easy to define inter-discipline. For my academic route I prefer to distinguish between multi-, inter-, and trans-discipline, using – as a criterion – the relationships between the approaches and methodologies of the disciplines concerned, to distinguish the types of relationships between disciplines and the construction-of-knowledge, in relation to a common topic area.

Transdisciplinary ecology

Definition of ecology as an environmental science with a broad base in human activity – Ecology is a very important science because it studies the relationship of living beings with their environment, including in the first the so-called biotic factors (such as bacteria, plants, animals, people…) and in the second the abiotic factors, or also inert beings, which make up chemical substances (such as salt, nitrogen, nutrients…), and physical environmental aspects (such as light, water, heat, air).

Although ecology can be considered a branch of biology, it is a multidisciplinary science, as it requires other specialized areas for its research, such as physics or geology. In addition, it also involves the study of social issues, i.e. related to human beings and the effect that they, as the most destructive animal known, generate on the planet.

We must not forget that Ecology studies all living beings, as well as inert beings and their relationships in the global environment of the planet, calling this whole area of interaction of life, the Biosphere. What is the Biosphere? This is a word that we hear a lot but we rarely stop to think about it.