What is Ecology?
“Ecology” is a branch of biology concerned with the study of the composition, structure, behavior, and systems of life on Earth. Ecology (from Latin, ec = ‘out’ and forma =’species’ or ‘kind’) is the study of the relationship between organisms, in this case, organisms and their environments. The field has three main subfields: ecological philosophy, which studies the meaning and implications of life; biological theory, which focuses on the interactions among organisms and their environments; and ecological psychology, which examines how various social/biological factors affect human behavior.
Ecology consists of the study of living organisms. It is divided into systems that are studied in-depth and describe patterns of change of organisms and other organisms as a result of their interrelationships.
Ecology deals with the study of life in its whole—living organisms, the environment, and human society. It deals with these issues –all life matters- from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. It does this by integrating skills, knowledge, experiences, and perspectives on sustainability.
Ecology and evolution
Ecologists, the people who study and teach about the ecology of plants and animals, have a lot of interesting insights into living systems. They have theories about life, and sometimes seemingly counterintuitive ideas about what we should be doing if we wanted more of something. Garry Kasparov’s famous game of chess was devised in 1969. What was designed at that time as a -winning strategy for one person has become the ultimate strategy for all humans. It secures our ability to live in harmony with our environment. Kasparov’s “”Ecology”” movement is not in the least bit different in its message. We are all equal participants in this creation process and have a fundamental responsibility, in addition to our freedom, to do our part to sustain it.
Types of Ecology
Are you curious about the different types of ecology? Well, let’s see. There are three major types of ecology: macroecology, microecology, and ecosystem ecology. Each of these is extremely important to our health. They cover different aspects of organisms in the physical world including plants, animals, and microbes. Each has its own set of consequences for one another and their interaction with each other is critical to life on Earth as a whole.
Ecology is the study of organisms and their interactions within an ecosystem. Ecological sciences may be divided into four areas: ecology of ecosystems, organismal ecology, evolutionary ecology and conservation biology. Each deals with a particular aspect of ecosystems, and relies on hypothetical models and empirical observations. Theories developed from these areas form the basis of ecological models. Most ecological models are empirical in character, but some are deductive in nature.
Ecology, the study of living things on Earth, has various aspects. Living in nature is one kind of ecology. Another kind of ecology is the social ecology, in which groups of people interact with each other and with the environment in different ways. The difference between these kinds of ecology is usually called biodiversity. There is no single correct definition for ecology: instead, there are several different definitions that are related to the same overall idea.”
So that we have seen that there are many types of ecology, and they overlap and change over time. These changes depend on many factors, including what factors are important for particular ecosystems. If a particular ecosystem is very popular with tourists, for example, it’s more likely to change than an ecosystem that isn’t well-known or understood by people.
Interaction in Ecology
All living organisms interact, in a continual interaction between organisms, for the survival and enhancement of each other, producing an ecology. The ecology of any species may be defined as the response of one species to the survival and interaction of other species and may involve changes in organism sizes and growth. Nature is self-organizing; to understand the interaction of living organisms within a defined environment we have to start by understanding the self-organization processes of the environment. We use the term ecology to refer to a system that has self-organizing properties and dynamics; that is, it organizes itself to solve a problem, to reproduce, and to respond to some external conditions, while responding to the activity of its own parts and to other factors.
Nature manages the environment, and organic systems do so by self-organizing. All physical systems, such as the flow of molecules around a fluid, organize themselves by adjusting their internal temperature. Also, all living organisms in nature have a way to respond to external changes, responding in their energy metabolism. All this organization is an ecology. As a way of comparing ecosystems and biological processes in nature, ecologists use the terms systems and dynamics, that is, systems organizing themselves, and dynamics that regulate those processes. Also, they take into account that to create a dynamic system, a system may be in different states: static, oscillating, fluctuating, steady.
A living system
Living organisms behave in a dynamic way, reacting, adjusting, and coordinating processes. Living systems may act in a single state at one time, and to an organism, they are a single process. However, they can also respond to their external environment, adapt their states to a changing external environment, and that is why we talk of living systems as a composite of different systems.
So, we have to start by distinguishing between what a living system is, and that of an environment, and to define the state that each process is in. To determine what the system is in a state of continuous growth, at a point of stability, and to identify the parameters that characterize a healthy living environment, we use the terms, environment, and ecology, both referring to an environmental state.
Relationship between the state of the environment and living system
Next, we have to define the nature of the relationship between the state of the environment and the state of the living system. These are two specific processes: one that controls growth, the other that regulates stability, and they take into account the difference between living and non-living systems. Ecology describes the relationship between the environment and living systems; ecology relates the dynamics of living systems to the dynamics of the environment. Ecology describes an environment as an environment of a living system because we can either define a system by describing its characteristics, by identifying a fixed state of the environment, or we can refer to an environment as a living environment.
Living systems are all complex, multilevel systems, whose environment does not have the same level of complexity. So, in ecology, we talk of the living system as a system of living organisms.
A state is a specific configuration or functional relationship within the system. The state can be continuous, and continuous functions can be specified in continuous states. States are a functional relationship between functions in an organism, and you can only define a continuous state, which has self-sustaining dynamics, in an environment. That is why we use the term ecology; we are interested in describing the dynamics, self-sustaining, self-regulating, and perhaps, metabolic efficiency of living systems.
Concept used in ecology
The most common concept used in ecology is the state, because in a state we refer to a continuous, growing dynamic state of an organism, which is under continuous control. In other words, we can assume a continuous state, continuous stability, and that is where the concept of environment comes into play.
Also, in ecology, we apply a dynamic term to the ecological processes. Most living systems have these two processes of changing states: state changes represent processes within the living systems; and, dynamical processes represent processes of the environment in which the living systems participate. The difference between an ecological process and an environmental process is that the process of the environment may be a moving process, driven by constant growth of organisms, whereas, in an ecological process, a changing or fluctuating state is not under the control of an organism, but is driven by an external environment. Also, the process of the environment may be a self-sustaining process, which includes interactions between organisms; or it may be a fluctuating or moving process, where ecosystems may be under the influence of other environmental processes.
What we have been describing so far is ecology as the interaction between a living system and the external environment. Some ecological processes, for example, of natural resources, may be part of the lifecycle of the organism, and maybe a part of its metabolism; while other processes, in which we see the environment as controlling the ecology, may involve processes that act at a longer time scale, at a different point in time. So, it is important to define these processes.
So, we can define ecology by describing a set of processes in an environment, which can be defined by a relationship between the external environment and the state of the living system. We have to look at the external environment and its dynamics.
This can be done by means of a deterministic dynamical description. For instance, you may consider a macroscopic system, a stationary system, whose dynamical processes occur at a longer time scale; in such a system, the environment determines the dynamics of the system.
However, such a macroscopic system is not a living system; it is a static environment. However, if the environment is a living system, then we can formulate an environment as a dynamic environment. That is, the external environment is not necessarily a stationary system. The dynamic processes are not deterministic, but describe the changing states of the environment in response to the dynamical processes in the living system.
If we know that the environment is a dynamic environment, then we can describe this environment as a living system. You can also describe living systems, in terms of their state; that is, they have dynamic states, and in this way, ecology is also defined. The states of an organism and the external environment, when they are synchronized, are described by an equilibrium model.
We have to deal with a complex dynamic system, which is the environment; and so we have to come up with an optimal or non-optimal solution to provide the best opportunities for the organism to survive and to grow, in the best possible way. Then, we have to make decisions about where to go, based on what we believe to be optimal solutions.
Our idealistic view is that the environment should be an ecological system. The environment has various states, which may have states that have defined environmental optimal solutions. We cannot directly influence that environment; we only decide how the environment will behave, or how it should behave in response to our input.
Categories: Environment and Ecology