• Question: What is interesting in ecology?

    Asked by _ to Sabina on 25 Sep 2017.
    • Photo: Sabina Fiolna

      Sabina Fiolna answered on 25 Sep 2017:

      Ecology tries to understand how different elements of the world influence each other: people, animals, plants, microbes, rocks, waters, Sun… It touches fundamental questions such as what is our place in the world or how we should use it.

      In my research I’m looking at ancient times to see how environment has changed since then and how cultural aspects (religion, philosophy, state organisation, trade, technology) could influence how people used their environment. It is fascinating to discover what species were cultivated then. Can you imagine your day without tomatoes, potatoes, rice, durum wheat (pasta is made from it), carrots, citrus fruits, coffee, cocoa and many more? It’s unbelievable how people are persistent in their will to live. When you think about vast empty spaces between cities full of wild animals, uncontrolled floods, fires or epidemies, you start to look differently at our reality.

      Ecology is also fascinating because it shows how small changes may affect the whole system. E.g. changes in taxing system resulted in creating olive plantations and this led to forest clearance on one hand and emerging of olive oil market on the other. Widespread oil trade resulted in the exchange of microbes, seeds and ideas and that created even more far reaching consequences. Looking at these nets of consequences makes my research so fascinating.