Ecology

Table of Contents

What Is Ecology

Biotic And Abiotic Factors

Types Of Ecology

Importance Of Ecology

Examples Of Ecology

 

Ecology 

What is Ecology?

Ecology is a  branch of science including human science, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere. Ecology is the study of organisms, environment and how the organisms interact with each other and their environment. It is studied at various levels such as organism, population, community, biosphere and ecosystem.

Ecologists primary goal is to improve their understanding of life processes, adaptations and habitats, interactions and biodiversity of organisms.

Biotic and Abiotic Factors

The main aim of ecology is to understand the distribution of biotic and abiotic factors of living things in the environment. The biotic and abiotic factors include the living and non-living factors and their interaction with the environment.

Biotic components

Biotic components

Biotic components are living factors of an ecosystem. Few examples of biotic components include bacteria,  animals, birds,  fungi, plants, etc.

Abiotic components

Abiotic components

Abiotic components are non-living chemical and physical factors of an ecosystem. These components could be acquired from the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. Few examples of abiotic components include sunlight, soil, air, moisture minerals, and more.

Living organisms are grouped into biotic components whereas non-living components like sunlight, water, topography are listed under abiotic components.

Types of Ecology

Types of Ecology

The diagram showing different Types of Ecology

Ecology can be classified into different types. The different types of ecology are given below:

Global Ecology

It is the study of interactions among earth’s ecosystems, atmosphere, land, and oceans. It helps in understanding the large-scale interactions and their influence on the planet.

Landscape Ecology

It is the study of the exchange of energy, organisms, materials and other products of ecosystems. Landscape ecology throws light on the role of human impacts on the landscape structures and functions.

Ecosystem Ecology

It is the study of the entire ecosystem which includes the study of living and non-living components and their relationship with the environment. This science research how ecosystems work, their interactions etc.

Community Ecology

It is the study of how community structure is changed by interactions among living organisms. Ecology community is made up of two or more populations of different species living in a particular geographic area.

Population Ecology

It is the study of factors that change and impact the size and genetic composition of the population of organisms. Ecologists are interested in fluctuations in the size of a population, growth of a population and any other interactions with the population.

In biology, a population can be defined as a set of individuals of same species living in a given place at a given time. Births and immigration are the main factors that increase the population and death and emigration are the main factors that decrease the population.

Population ecology examines population distribution and density. Population density is the number of individuals in a given volume or area. This helps in determining whether particular species is in endanger or its number is to be controlled and resources to be replenished.

Organismal Ecology

Organismal ecology is the study of individual organisms behaviour, morphology, physiology etc. in response to environmental challenges. It looks at how individual organisms interact with biotic and abiotic components. Ecologists research how organisms are adapted to these nonliving and living components of their surroundings.

Individual species are related to various adaptations like physiological adaptation,  morphological adaptation, and behavioural adaptation.

Molecular Ecology

The study of ecology focuses on the production of proteins and how these proteins affect the organisms and their environment. This happens at the molecular level.

DNA forms the proteins that interact with each other and the environment. These interactions give rise to some complex organisms.

Importance of Ecology

The following reasons explain the importance of ecology:

Conservation of Environment

Ecology helps us to understand how our actions affect the environment. It shows the individuals the extent of damage we cause to the environment.

Lack of understanding of ecology has led to the degradation of land and environment. It has also led to the extinction and endangerment of certain species. For eg., dinosaurs, white shark, mammoths, etc. Thus the study of the environment and organisms helps us to protect them from any damage and danger.

Resource Allocation

With the knowledge of ecology, we are able to know which resources are necessary for the survival of different organisms. Lack of ecological knowledge has led to scarcity and deprivation of these resources, leading to competition.

Energy Conservation

All the organisms require energy for their growth and development. Lack of ecological understanding leads to the over-exploitation of energy resources such as light, nutrition, and radiation, leading to its depletion.

Proper knowledge of ecological requirements prevents the unnecessary wastage of energy resources, thereby, conserving energy for future purposes.

Eco-Friendliness

Ecology encourages harmonious living within the species and the adoption of a lifestyle that protects the ecology of life.

Examples of Ecology

Following are a few examples of ecology:

Human Ecology

It focuses on the relationship between humans and the environment. It emphasises on the impact human beings have on the environment and gives knowledge on how we can improve ourselves for the betterment of humans and the environment.

Niche Construction

It deals with the study of how organisms alter the environment for the benefit of themselves and other living beings. For eg, termites create a 6 feet tall mound and at the same time feed and protect their entire population.

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Practise This Question

___ and precipitation over a period of time in an ecological place have given rise to the major biomes on Earth.