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ECOLOGY – An Introduction


What is Ecology? 

Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environments.  With the surroundings all organisms are intimately tied.

eco_a1_01"Study of the House" is the literal meaning of Ecology.

The word "ecology" was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919).

Ecosystem a specific area of size in which climate, landscape, animals and plants are constantly interacting.

Two parts of Earth's ecosystem

1.    The living things-(biotic)eco_a1_02
2.    The non-living parts -(abiotic)

Ecosystems create a biophysical feedback between living and nonliving components of an environment which generates and regulates the biogeochemical cycles of the planet.

Life depends on both the biotic and abiotic environments for survival.


The key factors:

•  Organisms absorb and radiated heat from and to the surrounding environment.
•  Organisms compete with other organisms for limited resources (food, water, space). 
•  Organisms eat and are eaten by other organisms  (Food web). 
• Modern ecological techniques have proved useful in testing ecological theories, and in arriving at practical decisions concerning the management of natural resources.
•  Ecological principles help us to understand the global and regional consequences of competition among human beings and so on.

Category of Environment

(1) Abiotic Environment: 

This includes all the nonliving factors and processes in an ecosystem. Sunlight, soil, water, and pollution, light from the sun, an abiotic environmental factor, makes life possible in almost all ecosystems.

(2) Biotic Environment:

This includes of all the living organisms in an ecosystem like Humans, Animals, Plants & etc, and includes factors such as disease, predators, prey, and human activity.

Basic Flow of energy

Through photosynthesis, the green plants take solar energy and convert it into chemical energy. As animals eat the plants, the energy moves through the biotic environment and is eventually expended as heat.

This basic flow of energy shows how closely abiotic and biotic components are linked.

This open system cycle relies on the sun.

The subdivisions of ecology

Biogeography Population ecology
Molecular ecology Community ecology
Ecological modeling Ecosystem ecology
Individual-based ecological modeling Landscape ecology
Chemical ecology Biosphere ecology
Physiological ecology Microbial ecology

Organismal Ecology

– evolutionary adaptations enable individual organisms to survive.

Population Ecology

– processes of population growth, density, and how members of a population coexist.

Community Ecology

– interactions between species affect community structure and organization.

Ecosystem Ecology

– broadens to include the interactions of communities with all the abiotic factors taken into consideration.

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