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Title: Ecotechnology as interdisciplinary method : ecological engineering of water quality
Author: Browne, Brigid
ISNI:       0000 0001 3505 3995
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2000
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The principle objective of the work is to explore an ecotechnological, interdisciplinary approach to studying 'natural', in ecologically engineered terms, systems. This requires the investigation of two sub-objectives. The first of which is to develop an assessment method for investigating the bi-directionality between water quality (biochemical) and ecological change as a socially directed biophysical or 'natural' technology. Supporting this first sub-objective is a second one which offers an innovative approach, in the form of developing a new classificatoiy framework or 'ecotaxonomy', which uses the concepts of hierarchy and emergence in describing the biological components (bios) of such 'natural' systems. Central also to the research is a case-study which relates to an issue of perception in the way that treatment processes at a water treatment works are generally regarded as separate from the treatment processes of water in 'natural' watercourses and the aquatic ecologies endogenous to them. Wastewater-fed aquaculture systems are a principle example of an ecological engineered treatment system or socially directed biophysical technology, which bridges this perceptual divide. Such an aquaculture system is used to test the new taxonomic framework. As a result of the development of a conceptual model and the hybrid classification exercise several interesting observations are made. Firstly the way in which the ecotaxonomy as a hybridization of traditional biological and ecological classification enables the systems biochemistry to be mapped to its ecology. Secondly the utility of 'inter' taxonomic systems generally as mapping functions to facilitate knowledge transfer and interdisciplinary research. Thirdly the creation of a classification systems which allows, by merit of it's structure, for the phenomenon of emergence. Other interesting side issues are raised such as the role of 'objective' as opposed to 'natural' biological classification systems and further implications on the effect of changing biological taxonomic structure are discussed, with particular reference to principle ecological theories such as the diversity-stability hypothesis and the nature of biological variety and functional diversity in natural systems generally. If social needs, such as water treatment, are to 'harness' natural biological systems then these properties of ecotechnology need to be further developed.
Supervisor: Seaton, R. A. F. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available