Understanding what ecology is and the object of study of this branch of science or biology may be a little more complex than you thought. That is why today we want to help you and we will find a way to explain in a slightly simpler way what the meaning of ecology consists of and what it is about.
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What is ecology?
First let’s get to know the most common definition of ecology of all, that definition that almost all of us can handle without much problem. Ecology can be defined as a science that has the main objective of studying the interaction that exists between each living being with the place where it is found, lives or makes life.
The definition is definitely quite simple, the problem is to fully understand the main objective of this science and really what is sought to study or obtain from the study of it.
What does ecology study?
This is where the knowledge that studies ecology takes on greater importance, as we mentioned before, the object of study of ecology is the interaction between living beings and the place where they live.
But the study of ecology goes further and takes into account different characteristics that participate in this interaction, for example, the relationship between different species, the behavior that they have in the place where they live, the available resources, the distribution of the area and even what modifications can be carried out by all these interactions.
If we go a little further in the study of ecology, we can mention some factors that many experts usually study, for example, physical factors (temperature, climatic conditions and many other things) and biological factors (types of species that live in the place and the relationship they share between them) that affect the environment in which living beings live.
Who studies ecology?
The question Who studies ecology? It is one of the easiest to answer and it is that the expert scientists who study this science are called ecologists, to be an ecologist you must first be a biologist and then specialize in the branch of study dedicated to ecology.
The first scientist who gave ecology a name as a science or ecology as a concept was Ernst Haeckel, a philosopher born in 1834 who, at only 35 years old, would create several terms that would become important in the world of biology (based on the work carried out carried out by Charles Darwin).
What are the levels of organization of ecology?
There are six levels of organization in ecology, these are: individual, population, community, ecosystem, biome and biosphere. Let’s learn a little more about each of these levels.
As we saw earlier, the object of study of ecology is the interaction between living beings and the place where they reside. Therefore, one of its most important levels of organization should be the individual or organisms present in the study system.
The study of this level consists of looking at how the individual or organism is in relation to its environment, how it goes through stages in that place and how the interaction between different members of that system occurs.
At the level of organization of individuals or organisms, things as interesting as behavior, morphology, and even hypotheses can be made about the types of species, the needs of individuals to adapt to the system, and many other things.
The level of organization called population simply refers to those individuals of the same species that are part of the same system or live in the same place at a specific moment in time.
At this level, the aim is to study precisely the interactions that may exist between individuals of the same species, competition, predation, the different changes that exist between one individual of the same species and another, and many other things.
A population can include any type of life form, from small organisms, to animals, plants, and more.
A community can be understood as that level of organization or system that is made up of the interaction between two or more populations of different species. As we mentioned before, a population can be formed by different types of species such as animals, plants, small organisms and many more things, therefore, a community is formed, for example, with the participation of an animal species and a species of bacteria or fungi.
It is precisely the interaction between the species of different populations that allows each species to survive and continue to exist.
The ecosystem is simply the interaction that exists between the physical elements and the abiotic elements of the physical environment in which the community is found. This simply means that this level of organization studies the community and how it develops in the environment in which it finds itself, taking into account the natural phenomena that they may face (different temperatures, climatic changes and much more).
A biome is a level of study that deals with different ecosystems that may have some similar characteristics and may or may not have direct contact with each other. If you have understood the different levels of organization well, you can intuit that biomes are large systems (since they include the study of two or more ecosystems with similar characteristics).
The biosphere is that level of organization that studies or encompasses all the different biomes, this level of organization covers the entire planet earth.
Now, the biosphere on the other hand is separated into three levels of study mainly: lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere.
Laws of ecology
Knowing the laws of ecology is very interesting and can be very useful for supporting our environment and the communities and populations that reside on the planet. We discuss more about the laws below.
- First law. Every life form (regardless of what it is) has some relationship to other life forms.
- Second law. The more diversity there is in a system, the more chances populations and individuals will have to survive.
- Third law. Resources are limited and may run out.
As you can see, the importance of ecology is quite great for our planet and the study of all living beings that are part of it and make life on it. It is good to know a little more about this science, either through popular culture or to continue investigating a science that can help us save the world. We also invite you to explore our blog and if you are just starting out in the world of permaculture we invite you to start with this article.