Tag Archives: connection

Ecofeminism: The Essentialism Issue

This is the last entry in a series that looks at ecofeminism and the critiques it has faced over the last 50 years. You can read the introductory piece here. The other chapters are linked below. (Image Credit: Patrick Kavanagh, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped)

We’ve looked at a couple of issues so far that ecofeminism has faced along the way, but in my opinion this is the big one. Whilst ecofeminism’s issues with dualism and definitions frustrated many of its proponents in its infancy, ties to essentialism caused many feminists to distance themselves from the discipline itself. So what is essentialism, and why did it almost bring the movement to a grinding halt?

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It’s What and Where You Eat

Animals depend on consumable energy to live, and that energy can come from a variety of places. If the energy that animals get from their food varies in quality depending on where the animals get their food, what does this mean for birds like the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) that consumes both terrestrial and aquatic food? (Image Credit: Andrew CannizzaroCC BY 2.0, Image Cropped).

Aquatic and terrestrial resources are not nutritionally reciprocal for consumers (2019) Twining et al., Functional Ecology, https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13401

The Crux

In the natural world, ecological subsidies, or the influx of sustenance from one habitat type to another, connect a variety of environments. While research has been conducted on this topic in the past, most of it has dealt with the quantity of energy moving between habitats, but not the quality of the resource itself.

When one habitat (such as an aquatic habitat) is rich in a specific resource that is hard to find in other habitats, subsidies of these resources play a unique role by providing animals and plants with food or energy that they could otherwise not get. The authors of today’s paper wanted to investigate if subsidies from aquatic habitats and terrestrial habitats contain the same amount of that hard to find, valuable resource: highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (HUFAs). Read more