Application of the Eco-field and General Theory of Resources to Bark Beetles: Beyond the Niche Construction Theory

Biosemiotics 10 (1):57-73 (2017)
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Abstract

A new approach to landscape ecology involves the application of the eco-field hypothesis and the General Theory of Resources. In this study, we describe the putative eco-field of bark beetles as a spatial configuration with a specific meaning-carrier for every organism-resource interaction. Bark beetles are insects with key roles in matter and energy cycles in coniferous forests, which cause significant changes to forestry landscapes when outbreaks occur. Bark beetles are guided towards host trees by the recognition of semiotic signals using a specific eco-field. These signals mainly comprise a group of scents, which are called the odourtope. Their interactions with other organisms occur by sharing relevant information from the eco-field networks in the forest ecosystem. The eco-field networks modulate the expansion of the realized semiotic niche of the bark beetle towards the potential semiotic niche. Moreover, the niche construction process can be initiated by interchanging signals among species living in the same place, where these signals allow the exploitation of the required resources. If different organisms are interdependent on signals in eco-field networks, then this process may result in the establishment of mutualistic relationships. This is an example of how evolutionary processes are initiated by the recognition of signals in a network of eco-fields.

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