Integrating Information from Different Levels of Biological Organization
Cairns, John Jr.
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Global ecological problems as well as regional problems require information from a variety of levels of biological organization from single species to ecosystems. Both scientists and decision makers benefit from synthesis of this information, especially when coupled with chemical/physical information. Synthesized information is also more easily communicated to the general public, especially if the minutiae so fascinating to specialists are avoided. However, neither integration nor synthesis should be an afterthought, but should be incorporated into the original project design. A continual flow of information should be maintained during the data gathering stage so that midcourse corrections can be made when significant interactions are discovered. However, if the scientific information conflicts with political ideology, it should not be rejected.