Ecology. Definition, division and the most important concepts

Ecology is a field of biology, the study of the structure and functioning of nature. He studies the interactions between organisms and their environment, as well as the interactions between these organisms. What departments can we distinguish in ecology? What does the term "ecological" mean?

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1. What does ecology do?

Ecology studies the relationships between living organisms and the abiotic environment, which are based on various kinds of interactions. These phenomena were discovered in antiquity, but ecology as an independent field of science developed in the 19th century.

Generally speaking, ecology is the study of order and disorder in nature, as well as its consequences for the existence of man and the biosphere.

2. Origin of the name

The name of this field of science - ecology - comes from the word oecology, which was introduced in 1866 by the German evolutionist and biologist Ernst Haeckel.

He introduced them to define the study of animals and their relationships with the surrounding organic and inorganic world, with particular emphasis on relationships, friendly or not, with other animal and plant organisms with which they come into contact. The organisms existing in the environment are influenced by biotic and abiotic factors.

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3. The most important concepts of ecology

Among the most important concepts in this field of science, we can distinguish such as:

  • population;
  • ecosystem;
  • biocenosis;
  • ecological landscape;
  • team.

4. Departments of ecology

Nowadays, we distinguish two main branches of ecology:

  • species ecology;
  • ecology of multi-species communities.

Ecology can also be divided due to the research methodology, which allows us to distinguish:

  • descriptive ecology;
  • functional ecology;
  • molecular ecology;
  • biochemical ecology.


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4.1. Ecology of the species

The ecology of the species includes:

  • population ecology (distribution range problems, problems of the dynamics of local populations);
  • evolutionary ecology (the life history of species, including their adaptations, evolutionary adaptations);
  • comprehensive physical geography - organization, structure, diversity and functioning of the natural environment as a whole

4.2. Ecology of multi-species communities

The ecology of multi-species communities includes:

  • synectology;
  • biocenology;
  • research on the formation of the structure of ecosystems.

5. What does it mean: ecological?

According to the dictionary definition, ecological is different:

  • concerning the relationship of external conditions with the life of animals and plants;
  • related to environmental protection;
  • made of natural ingredients.

Nowadays, ecological is a natural, non-harmful to human health and the environment, non-toxic, recycled, reusable.

Ecological measures are also defined as, inter alia, waste segregation, reducing the use of plastic or using renewable energy sources.

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