Next Article in Journal
Estimating the Entropy of Binary Time Series: Methodology, Some Theory and a Simulation Study
Previous Article in Journal
Symmetry Rules: How Science and Nature Are Founded on Symmetry. By Joe Rosen. Springer: Berlin. 2008, XIV, 305 p. 86 illus., Hardcover. CHF 70. ISBN: 978-3-540-75972-0
Article Menu

Article Versions

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Entropy 2008, 10(2), 58-70; doi:10.3390/entropy-e10020058

Quantum and Ecosystem Entropies

College of Marine and Earth Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA
Received: 26 March 2008 / Revised: 12 June 2008 / Accepted: 15 June 2008 / Published: 17 June 2008
Download PDF [172 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


Ecosystems and quantum gases share a number of superficial similarities including enormous numbers of interacting elements and the fundamental role of energy in such interactions. A theory for the synthesis of data and prediction of new phenomena is well established in quantum statistical mechanics. The premise of this paper is that the reason a comparable unifying theory has not emerged in ecology is that a proper role for entropy has yet to be assigned. To this end, a phase space entropy model of ecosystems is developed. Specification of an ecosystem phase space cell size based on microbial mass, length, and time scales gives an ecosystem uncertainty parameter only about three orders of magnitude larger than Planck’s constant. Ecosystem equilibria is specified by conservation of biomass and total metabolic energy, along with the principle of maximum entropy at equilibria. Both Bose - Einstein and Fermi - Dirac equilibrium conditions arise in ecosystems applications. The paper concludes with a discussion of some broader aspects of an ecosystem phase space.
Keywords: Entropy; ecology; quantum statistical mechanics. Entropy; ecology; quantum statistical mechanics.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kirwan, A.D., Jr. Quantum and Ecosystem Entropies. Entropy 2008, 10, 58-70.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Entropy EISSN 1099-4300 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top