Introduction to ecology deals with the basic concepts or ecological questions that are discussed in the field of ecology. It includes the study of the organisms and their relationship with their environment.
Generally, ecologists study the environment on five levels, which are organism, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere.
In short, introduction to ecology deals with the following phenomenon:
- Relationship between biotic and abiotic factors
- The flow of energy in an ecosystem
- Natural selection and evolution of life
- Competition and cooperation among organisms and species
- The distribution of organisms in relation to the environment
- Biodiversity patterns and how they affect an ecology system
The study of ecology is important in contemporary world to understand and preserve biodiversity, and limit the negative effects of climate change or any other ecological changes.
Table of Contents
Ecology in biology
Ecology is a sub-discipline in biology that deals with the study of organisms and their relationship with ecosystem, ecological principles and various other characteristics of ecology.
Biology can be defined as the study of life. It includes many sub disciplines including, but not limited to:
Ecology is further divided into sub-disciplines. The major subdisciplines of ecology include:
Population ecology studies the dynamics of population and their interaction with the ecosystem. It is one of the types of ecology.
It focuses on factors such as migration patterns and death rates of a population to understand the relationship of populations and ecosystems.
Community ecology examines how communities of living organisms interact and respond to their non-living surroundings. This area of expertise investigates the structure and operation of biological communities as a branch of the general study of ecology.
Terrestial ecology is the study of terrestrial ecosystems, including their populations and communities of plants and animals. It studies the interaction of organisms with the terrestrial bodies.
Aquatic ecology is the study of organisms that live in our rivers and streams, as well their interaction with aquatic ecosystem.
Physiological ecology is the study of behavioural and physiological adaptations that organisms undertake to live and reproduce successfully in their constantly changing environments.
How does a wetlands ecologist use chemistry?
Wetland ecologists use chemistry to study the interactions between organisms living in a wetland and their geochemical environment.
They also study the role of hydrology in shaping the geochemical environment in a wetland ecosystem.
Wetland ecologists may investigate a number of ecological issues, ranging from species interactions to the effects of climate change in a wetland.
For example, a wetland ecologist uses his knowledge of chemistry to test the levels of oils and other pollutants in a wetland.
Ecology and evolution are closely related in a way that ecology shapes how organisms should evolve due to their interaction with different environments around the world.
The process of natural selection is the key to understanding the relationship between ecology and evolution.
Ecology provides the ground or the conditions for organisms to adapt or change accordingly. As a result, organisms evolve over the years in order to adjust to the ecosystem and ensure their survivability in the long run.
Short ecology notes for commonly used terms in ecology:
A species is a group of creatures that have the ability to interbreed and reproduce
A habitat is a place where an organism lives, such as a terrestrial habitat on land, or an aquatic habitat on water
A population is a collection of organisms belonging to the same species that are present in the same location at the same time.
Community is a group of populations of various species living in the same place.
Biosphere is the area of the earth and atmosphere that is capable of supporting life. This can be on land, in deep waters, or a few metres up in the air.
An ecological niche is a term referring to a specific organism. It describes the function or role of an organism in a particular habitat.
Abiotic factors are non-living elements like water, air and land.
Biotic factors are live entities found in an ecosystem including plants, animals, and bacteria.