Ecology is a branch of science including human science, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere. It 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.
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 are living factors of an ecosystem. A few examples of biotic components include bacteria, animals, birds, fungi, plants, etc.
Abiotic components are non-living chemical and physical factors of an ecosystem. These components could be acquired from the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. A 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.
Classification of Ecology
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Population Ecology: The study 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.
6. Organismal Ecology: It is the study of an individual organism’s 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.
7. Molecular Ecology: The study focuses on the production of proteins and how these proteins affect the organisms and their environment. This happens at the molecular level.