- Kovacs, Z. I.; C. J. LeRoy; D. G. Fischer; S. Lubarsky; and W. Burke
Beauty is a powerful force that affects both our emotions and our ecological practices, yet aesthetic values remain understated, and under-discussed in ecology. Here we invite discussion about the influence of beauty on ecological research by outlining 1) how aesthetics affect the practice of ecology, and 2) how aesthetics affect the implementation of ecological research on the landscape. The aesthetic sensibilities of ecologists develop through personal experiences and are enriched by professional training, including, ecological coursework, fieldwork, research, and discussion. Many ecologists chose an ecological career because it offers an opportunity to work in beautiful, natural places. However, these values influence assessments of landscapes as beautiful, sustainable, functioning, or threatened. Beauty and concepts of aesthetic preference may have strong influences on the design, implementation, and interpretation of ecological studies as well as public perceptions of ecological processes.