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Define Ecology and its Classification

Grade 9
Aug 22, 2022
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Key Concepts

• Ecology

• Classification of ecology

• Hierarchy of ecology

• Ecosystem

• Components of Ecosystem

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Introduction

Ecology is the study of the interrelationship of various organisms with each other and their environment. The term ‘ecology’ is derived from Greek words, ‘Oikos’ (meaning: house, habitat, or place of living) and ‘Logos’ (meaning : to study). The term ‘ecology’ was coined by German Zoologist, Ernst Haeckel in the year 1866. All living organisms and their environment are related to each other. They affect each other in several ways. Environment has a major impact on the life cycle of several species living in it. Living organisms adapt themselves according to the changes that take place in the environment. Ecology deals with these kinds of interrelationships among organisms and their interactions with the living environment. Ecological studies are carried out on the basis of the following concepts. 

  1. All living organisms exhibit inter-relationship and inter-dependence among themselves and with the environment they live in. 
  1. Environment plays a key role in the life cycle of species. 
  1. With respect to environmental changes, species undergo physiological and structural adaptations. 
  1. Species specific activities such as growth, reproduction, death, decay, etc., make changes in the environment.  

Objectives of Ecology: 

The main objective of ecology is to understand the interrelationship and interdependence between the biotic components of an ecosystem. It also deals with the interaction of the biotic components with the abiotic components of the environment. The following are some of the important objectives of ecology. 

  1. The inter-relationships between organisms in an ecosystem. 
  1. The impact of temporal changes in the biotic components of an ecosystem. 
  1. Behavioral changes of an organism under natural conditions. 
  1. Structural and functional adaptations of an organism with respect to the changes in their environment. 
  1. Energy flow and biological productivity in natural system. 

Significance of Ecology: 

A complete understanding of the environment is very important for mankind. With the extensive use of technology and overexploitation of natural resources, human beings tend to modify the environment. Therefore, a complete understanding of these human impacts on the environment is very important. Ecological studies have social, political, economic, and technological significance. Ecological study also helps to understand the evolutionary development of an organism. Ecological studies also help scientists to develop mathematical models to relate interaction of parameters and predict the effects. 

Classification of Ecology: 

  1. Based on study area: 

Based on the study area, ecology is classified into two types,  

  1. Autecology 
  1. Synecology 

Autecology: 

Autecology is also known as Species ecology. It is the study of an individual species and its population. Ecologists make a clear analysis of the behavioral changes and adaptations of a particular species with respect to the changes in the environmental conditions. Ecologists make a close analysis about each stage of an individual’s life cycle.  

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Synecology: 

Synecology is also known as ecology of communities. It deals with the study of communities, their composition, their behavior, and their relationship with the environment. Synecology is further classified into three types namely,  

  1. Population Ecology 
  1. Community Ecology 
  1. Ecosystem Ecology 
  1. Based on environment / habitat: 

Based on the study environment or the habitat, ecology is broadly classified into two types,  

  1. Aquatic Ecology 
  1. Terrestrial Ecology 

Aquatic Ecology 

Aquatic ecology is the study of interactions of organisms in water. Aquatic ecology is further classified into different types. 

  1. Marine Water Ecology 
  1. Ocean Ecology 
  1. Deep Sea Ecology 
  1. Estuary Ecology 
  1. Freshwater Ecology 
  1. Lectic (Running water) Ecology 
  1. River Ecology 
  1. Stream Ecology 
  1. Spring Ecology 
  1. Lentic (Standing water) 
  1. Pond Ecology 
  1. Lake Ecology 

Terrestrial Ecology 

Terrestrial ecology is the study of interactions of organisms on land. Terrestrial ecology is further classified into three types. 

  1. Grassland Ecology 
  1. Forest Ecology 
  1. Desert Ecology 
  1. Based on advancements in the field of Ecology 

Based on the advancements taking place in the field of ecology, it’s  classified into different types. 

  1. Productive Ecology 
  1. Population Ecology 
  1. Community Ecology 
  1. Ecosystem Ecology 
  1. Microbial Ecology 
  1. Radiation Ecology 
  1. Pollution Ecology 
  1. Space Ecology 

Hierarchy of Ecology: 

Each and every living organism existing in the world is a member of ecology. Ecological hierarchy refers to the ranking of these members. An individual living organism is the basic unit of ecological hierarchy. 

Ecological Hierarchy 
Hierarchical levels of ecology 
Hierarchical organization of ecology 
 Layers of ecological hierarchy 

Ecosystem: 

Ecosystem is the major structural and functional unit of ecology. An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in a particular geographic area. It is composed of biotic (living) and abiotic components (non-living). All living organisms in an ecosystem are dependent on each other either directly or indirectly.  

The term ‘ecosystem’ was coined by the English botanist A.G.Tansley in the year 1935. He defined an ecosystem as “the system that results from the interaction of all the living and non-living factors of the environment.” In other words, ecosystem is defined as the structural and functional unit of biosphere, comprising living and non-living factors and their interaction. Ecosystem can be classified into different types (fig. no. 5). 

 Classification of ecosystem 

Components of Ecosystem: 

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in a particular geographic area. It is composed of biotic (living) and abiotic components (non-living). All living organisms in an ecosystem are dependent on each other either directly or indirectly.  

Components of ecosystem
Classification of ecosystem components 
Biotic and Abiotic Components of Ecosystem 

Abiotic components: 

Abiotic components of an ecosystem refers to the non-living components of an ecosystem. It includes chemical and physical components such as water, air, solar energy, minerals and nutrients of soil and various organic compounds present in the environment. These abiotic components have a direct impact on the living organisms of the ecosystem.  

Biotic components: 

Biotic components of an ecosystem refers to all living organisms present in that ecosystem. It includes plants, animals, and micro organisms such as bacteria and fungi. Biotic components of an ecosystem can be classified into different types. 

 Biotic Components of Ecosystem 

Summary

• Ecology is the study of interrelationship of various organisms with each other and their environment.

• The main objective of ecology is to understand the interrelationship and interdependence between the biotic components of an ecosystem

• Based on study area ecology is classified into two types namely, autecology and synecology.

• Based on study environment, ecology is broadly classified into two types, aquatic ecology, and terrestrial ecology

• Hierarchical levels of ecology – individual organism, population, community, ecosystem, biome, biosphere.

• An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in a particular geographic area. It is composed of biotic (living) and abiotic components (non-living).

• All living organisms in an ecosystem are dependent on each other either directly or indirectly.

• An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in a particular geographic area. It is composed of biotic (living) and abiotic components (non-living).

• Abiotic components of an ecosystem refers to the non-living components of an ecosystem.

• Biotic components of an ecosystem refers to all living organisms present in that ecosystem. It includes plants, animals, and micro organisms such as bacteria and fungi.

• Biotic components of ecosystem can be broadly classified into three different types -Producers, consumers, and decomposers.

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