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William Frédéric Edwards Founds Animal Ecology


In 1824 physician and physiologist William Frédéric Edwards published De l'influence des agents physiques sur la viea founding work of animal ecology.

Edwards's main idea was that vital processes depend on external physical and chemical forces but are not entirely controlled by them. Life is different from heat, light, or electricity, forces which, however, contribute to the production of vital phenomena. Edwards systematically examined all principal functions, mostly of vertebrate species; and by varying the external conditions, he de­termined the nature and degree of their modification. Among the phenomena he studied were the minimum and maximum tem­peratures compatible with life; heat production in young and adult animals; resistance of young animals to cold and to lack of oxygen.

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