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Ecology, also known as bioecology or bionomics, is a branch of biology that involves studying the interactions of living organisms with each other and the environment. Different living organisms exist together and relate to the environment in different ways. Scientists study how these organisms are distributed on earth, their organization, and their roles in ecosystems. Ecology is a broad field of study because living organisms are highly diverse and distributed in different environments on earth. The discipline is commonly related to environmental biology, but it is quite different because it mainly focuses on the living organisms. Ecology was developed from the natural sciences and it shares a lot of knowledge with the fields of genetics, evolution, physiology and behavioral studies.
Ecologists study the adaptations of living organisms, their life processes, their distribution and abundance, their interactions with other organisms and the environment, and their roles in the ecosystem. Ecologists should be keen, accurate, and detailed in their work because ecological phenomena involve the dynamics of time and space. Ecological systems and processes take many years to develop and, therefore, ecologists have to consider the effects of time in their studies. Many other factors affect ecological systems, such as climate and the interrelations in ecological processes. These factors are considered in ecological studies to develop accurate and conclusive reports. The distribution and abundance of living organisms on earth are affected by biotic and abiotic factors.
These are the living organisms or factors related to living things that play a role in building ecosystems. Phenomena such as disease, predation, parasitism, symbiosis, and competition are common factors related to living organisms that contribute to the existence of ecosystems. For example, the pollination of plants by bees is an important phenomenon that is beneficial to both the plants and the bees. Bees are abundant in the areas where the plants that provide nectar are present. The plants, on the other hand, flourish greatly in the areas where the bees are present because they enable pollination. The distribution and abundance of the bees, in this case, is, therefore, influenced by the presence of the plants.
These are the non-living factors that contribute to the development of ecosystems. They include factors such as temperature, water, minerals, light, and humidity. Living organisms require different environmental conditions to survive in an ecosystem. For example, mosquitoes cannot survive in cold areas, such as Antarctica. Mosquitoes are very sensitive to temperature changes because they are cold-blooded. Their body temperature is influenced by the temperature of the surroundings. They are, therefore, found in abundance in the warm areas where they can survive. The distribution and abundance of mosquitoes are, therefore, affected by temperature, which is an abiotic factor.
Levels of organization in ecology
This is a group of individuals that share genetic similarities and can breed to produce fertile offspring. These organisms exploit the same set of resources in the environment to enable their survival.
This is a group of individuals consisting of members of the same species and living in the same geographical environment. They interact and interbreed to grow the population.
This is a combination of different populations that live in the same geographical area. These populations consist of organisms from different species. Biotic factors, therefore, play a significant role in the formation of a community.
This is a group of communities that co-exist in one environment together with the non-living organisms. Both biotic and abiotic factors influence the formation of an ecosystem. The living organisms depend on one another as well as the surroundings to survive.
This is the area of the planet that contains living organisms, that is, a combination of all the ecosystems that are found on earth. It consists of living organisms and the non-living organisms that they interact with.
Ecological species concept
Many concepts are used to define a species. In ecology, a species refers to a group of organisms that are adapted to a particular group of resources in the environment. These resources, which suit a particular species are known as the ecological niche. It describes the position of the species in an ecosystem, including the materials that enable it to survive through reproduction, food and shelter. Biotic and abiotic factors maintain the integrity of a species by stabilizing natural selection. When these factors change, they cause disruptive natural selection, which leads to the development of a new species. The differences in species are, therefore, in the resources that they make use of in the ecosystem.
The applications of ecology
Ecology plays a significant role in the conservation and protection of the world’s natural resources and biodiversity. This is important in restoring endangered species, reducing the rates of extinction, and repairing damaged ecosystems.
Natural resource management
The exploitation of natural resources by human beings can be destructive to ecosystems. Human activities, such as agriculture and mining, tend to affect living organisms. Natural resources, such as forests and water bodies, are managed using the knowledge of ecology.
The urban settings involve the interaction of living organisms and the environment. These interactions are studied through urban ecology and used in the development of urban areas. The knowledge of ecology is beneficial in city planning to ensure that they are sustainable.
The knowledge of ecology is applied in studying human populations. It is useful in understanding human interactions and their effects. It involves studying humans in their natural and man-made environments.
Ecology is an important field of study, which has many applications. It helps in understanding the organisms that surround us, and how they interact with each other and the environment. Human beings learn from these organisms and exploit them for their survival. Ecology is also useful in understanding our interactions in society and our interactions with other organisms. Ecologists require in-depth knowledge of biology because it involves studying living organisms. Biology can be challenging to some students as it is very broad. You can find college biology homework help online if you face any challenges.