Hey everyone this post is the first of eight on ecology. I really hope everyone find the ecology series informative.
What is ecology?
Ecology (also called bionomics or environmental biology) is the study of the interaction between organisms and their environment. Ecology is derived from combining different fields such as biology and earth science. Also it’s important to highlight that the term “ecology” was coined by the German zoologist, Ernst Haeckel in 1866. Ecology is a diverse field and the people who study ecology are called ecologist.
Practitioners of ecology (ecologist) are concern with biodiversity, population of organisms, interaction between organisms and their environment, biomass, distribution of organisms, energy flow within ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles (e.g. Carbon Cycle). Basically ecologist are concern with the interaction and different processes that takes place within ecosystems. Please note that you have different levels of ecosystems that combines to from one big ecosystem. You will learn more about that further in the series.
The study of ecosystems through ecology and also other fields is very important; because we are able to learn how ecosystems function and how humans benefit from ecosystems. The reason why it’s important to study ecosystems is because they are composed of different interacting parts. Humans need to know how ecosystems will be affected if one part of it stop functioning or become depleted and the possible consequences that might follow. Let’s move on to the types of ecology.
Types of Ecology
Ecology can be classified into two types:
1. Terrestrial Ecology
2. Aquatic Ecology
Terrestrial ecology deals with land. It involves the study of the interaction between soil organisms and also the non-living (abiotic) aspect of the soil environment. In other words, terrestrial ecology is the study of ecosystems on land. Terrestrial ecology focus on nutrients cycling, soil formation, and also the consequences of global change for biotic interactions. Terrestrial ecology also look at loss of biodiversity and its negative effects; how ecosystems are affected by invasive (foreign) species; consequences of altered biodiversity; plant-soil-atmosphere interaction; function of soil microbes; formation, quality and distribution of soil organic matter. Terrestrial ecology deals with many other different natural and man-made issues relating to the environment.
Aquatic ecology deals with water. It involves the study of the interaction between aquatic organisms and also the non-living aspect of the aquatic environment or it’s the study of ecosystem founded in a body of water. Aquatic ecosystems are divided into Marine and Freshwater ecosystem. More on this later.
Aquatic ecology focus on nutrient cycling within aquatic ecosystems, interaction of different organisms (e.g. birds eating fish), aquatic plants function and importance, evolution of aquatic organisms (how they change over time), fluctuation of biodiversity, adaptation, effects of environmental variation on aquatic organism and the entire aquatic ecosystem (plants, animal and microorganisms). Aquatic ecology covers a wide area of topics and environmental issues in various ways. So I will leave aquatic ecology where it is for now.
Next in the ecology series is other categories of ecology and basic concepts in ecosystem.