An ecologist is a person who studies the relationship between living things and their environment.
Ecologists study these relationships among organisms and habitats of many different sizes, ranging from the study of microscopic bacteria growing in a fish tank, to the complex interactions between the thousands of plant, animal, and other communities found in a desert. Ecologists also study many kinds of environments.
Ecologists derive the ecology definition, study and explore ecological differences and try to discover new and interesting ecology facts.
Table of Contents
Basic ecology terms
Abiotic: Anything that is not, nor has ever been, alive. Some examples of abiotic factors in an environment include precipitation, sunlight, and minerals. Abiotic is the opposite of biotic. Life or no life, that is the question.
Biotic: Anything that is, or has ever been, alive. Examples of biotic factors in an environment include organisms, organic molecules, and cells. Biotic is the opposite of abiotic.
Carnivore: An organism that only eats animal tissue. Most predators and scavengers are exclusively carnivorous. Some examples of carnivores include members of the feline family, like lions, tigers, and house cats, and birds of prey, like eagles, hawks, and owls.
Consumer: Organisms that depend on other biotic factors for nutrition are called consumers.
Ecological terms and definitions
Decomposer: An organism that feeds on and breaks down dead or decaying matter in the process of ecological decomposition. Examples of decomposers include fungi, like mushrooms and molds; worms, like earthworms and some nematodes; and some bacteria. Decomposers are also called saprotrophs, meaning “putrid eaters.”
Ecosystem: A term describing all the living and nonliving things in a certain location. Ecosystem studies in ecology explore the interactions between organisms, like individuals, populations, or communities, and the abiotic components in the environment, like chemicals, landscapes, and the like.
Food chain: A simple, direct, and trophic, or eating, relationship among a group of organisms, where one organism, like a plant, is the food source for the next organism, like a cow, which in turn is the food source for the next organism, like a human, and so on and so forth.
Food web: A complex trophic relationship among a group of organisms, consisting of interactions among multiple food chains (see definition above). A food web describes how multiple producers and consumers directly or indirectly interact in an ecosystem.
Ecology terms and definitions
Herbivore: An organism that only eats tissue from autotrophic organisms, like plants and algae. Some examples of herbivores include members of the bovine family, like cows, bison, antelope, and sheep; members of the deer family, like moose, reindeer, and elk; and many insects, like leaf beetles, lady bugs, and aphids.
Host: An organism on, or in, which a parasite lives or feeds. For example, dogs are known to be good hosts for fleas. Frontline Plus: it does wonders.
Omnivore: An organism that eats tissue from both plants and animals. Some examples of omnivores include members of the hominid family, like humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans, and many bird species, like hummingbirds, ducks, and woodpeckers.
Parasite: An organism that can live on or in another organism, known as a host. Parasites, by nature, cause damage to their hosts. Some parasites, like mites, fleas, and lice, live on the outside of their hosts and are called ectoparasites. Other parasites, like malaria, hookworms, and tapeworms, live on the inside of their hosts and are called endoparasites. The amount of harm a parasite does to its host varies from parasite to parasite and from host to host. Some parasitic relationships result in death for the host, like the “head-splitting fungus” parasite of ants, while other hosts are completely unaware that they even have a parasite. 95% of humans play host to parasitic nematodes without ever knowing it. Fooled you, didn’t they?
terminology of ecology
Symbiosis: An interaction between individuals of different species. Symbiotic relationships include mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism. They do not include predator-prey interactions.
Succession: The compositional change in an ecological community over time. Succession occurs after some major, or minor, disturbance has disrupted the previous composition of the community. Complete disturbance, where all life is eradicated, like during a volcanic eruption, or the formation of a new island, results in a long-term successional process. Usually, disturbances are less complete, like forest fires, and succession to a climax community (see definition) occurs more quickly.
Trophic level: A description of the position occupied by an organism in a food chain or food web. Simply put, an organism’s trophic level is defined by what it eats and what eats it. Examples of trophic levels include producers, consumers, and decomposers.
Producer: Organisms that create their own nutrition from abiotic factors suck=h as sunlight, water, air, etc. are called producers.
What does ecologist mean?
Ecologist means people who study the relationship between living things and their environment.