Information in ecosystems - relevant for species or systems?

  • Markus Knoflacher (Autor)

Aktivität: Vortrag ohne Tagungsband / VorlesungPräsentation auf einer wissenschaftlichen Konferenz / Workshop


Information processing and perception at different levels of organisation is essential for interactions among organism. All living species are basically dependet on the long-term transformation of information determinded by the genetic code. Much more differentiated are processes for inter-individual information transformation in intra- and interspecific relationships. However, it is still an open question to which extent information exchange among organisms determines functional characteristics of ecosystems. This question will be treated at a conceptual level under consideration of resource distributions in ecosystems. Different expressions of information are definde according to [1]. Structural information (Is) is any non-random spatial or temporal structure or relation of entities, functional information (If) is the algorithm for decoding of sturctural information, pragmatic information (Ip) is the effective information for the receiving organism. The relationships between the different kinds of information for one particular organism can be expressed as follows. [2]. Is>If>Ip The dimension of structural information, expressed in bits, is influenced by the biodiversity of ecosystems, because it depends on the occurrence of abiotic and biotic entities. Processing of structural information by any organism causes in principle contrary effects, it can be beneficial for reproduction of species but potential consumers can cause adverse effects. Consequently, it can be beneficial information, dependent on the current situation. Of high theroretical interest are the effects of structural information provided by associations of higher species numbers. A big challenge for actors in complex systems, like ecosystems, is the development of a suitable code for the generation of functional information. Basic solutions are provided for all organisms by the evolution of specific sensory systems. The limited bandwidth of a particular sensory system is essential for the a-priori reduction of ecosystem complexity for organisms, with several consequences for energetic balances and interspecific relationships. The generation of pragmatic information is dependent on the evolution of the endogenous system for information processing, in particular of neural systems. Increasing flexibility for information processing and increasing memory capacity increases the individual potential for adaption to structural complexity or dynamic environmental conditions. Information relationships can be identified along energetic chains in ecosystems as also across to them. The theoretical effects of interdependencies between different types of information and its effects on ecosystem functions will be presented in the paper.
Zeitraum16 Sept. 2004
EreignistitelGfOE Konferenz

Research Field

  • Nicht definiert