Investigating the Health of a Rice Field Ecosystem Using Thermodynamic Extremal Principles
Keywords:Far-from-equilibrium system; Goal-function; Rice field ecosystem; Thermodynamic ecology
This study investigates the dynamic behaviour of a rice field ecosystem and aims to define its integral features using the stability concept of an ecological goal function. This function is based on the extremal principles of thermodynamics, which assume that certain energetic processes of ecosystems—such as the rate of exergy destruction—are directed by the self-organizing informatics of the systems towards maxima or minima.
In our study, we exploit the availability of substantially long time-series data relating to a rice field ecosystem to gain an evocative understanding of its growth trajectory in light of the thermodynamic principles. We accomplished this by constructing a model based on the STELLA 9.0 software and calculating the extremal values of growth rates (storage) and those of exergy destruction and entropy creation. The results showed that the values of both maximum dissipation and maximum exergy progressed apace with that of maximum storage till the maturation of rice and became stable thereafter, whereas maximum residence time and maximum specific dissipation values initially decreased before their asymptotic rise. A similar pattern was also observed for the maximum specific exergy. However, the maximum power dissipation curve followed a highly fluctuated course before becoming stable on the maturation of rice.
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