Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Ecology, Thermodynamics and H.T. Odum's Conjectures
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology.
1993 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 93, no 4, 582-596 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The central rôle of energy in all life processes has led to the development of numerous hypotheses, conjectures and theories on the relationships between thermodynamics and ecological processes. In this paper we examine the theoretical and empirical support for these developments, and in particular for the widely published set of thermodynamic conjectures developed by H.T. Odum, in which the maximum power principle is put forward as a generic feature of evolution in ecosystems. Although widely used, we argue that many of the ecological studies that have adopted the ideas encapsulated in Odums work, have done so without being aware of some of the fundamental problems underlying this approach. We discuss alternative ways in which a general available-work concept could be constructed for use as a numeraire in an energy-centered ecological theory or paradigm. In so doing, we examine what is meant by material accessibility and energy stocks and flows with respect to traditional food web and food chain theories, and relate these to results from the evolutionary dynamics of ecosystems. We conclude that the various forms and uses of energy bound up in essential ecosystem processes present a formidable obstacle to obtaining an operational definition of a general, aggregated available-work concept, a prerequisite for the systems approach of Odum and others. We also show that the prototypical derivations of the maximum power principle, and its interpretation, are contradicted on many scales both by empirical data and models, thereby invalidating the maximum power principle as a general principle of ecological evolution. The conclusions point to the fundamental problem of trying to describe ecosystems in a framework which has a one-dimensional currency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 1993. Vol. 93, no 4, 582-596 p.
Keyword [en]
Critique Systems ecology Energy numeraire Exergy
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-18525DOI: 10.1007/BF00328969ISI: A1993KW41400018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-18525DiVA: diva2:592161
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2015-09-08Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textAbstract and fulltext

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Månsson, Bengt
By organisation
Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology
In the same journal
Oecologia
Energy Systems

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Altmetric score

Total: 18 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf