e•col•o•gy (ɪˈkɒl ə dʒi)
1. the branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment.
2. the set of relationships existing between organisms and their environment.
3. Also called human ecology. the branch of sociology concerned with the spacing and interdependence of people and institutions.
4. the advocacy of protection of the air, water, and other natural resources from pollution or its effects; environmentalism.
ecosystem (ˈiːkəʊˌsɪstəm, ˈɛkəʊ-)
Ecology- a system involving the interactions between a
community of living organisms in a particular area
and its nonliving environment
The Scope of Ecology
The first unit studied deals with the principles of ecology. Ecology is a term coined from the Greek oikos, which means home, and the Latin and Greek roots of our word logic, which refers to scientific study or thought. Literally translated it is the study of the home. When first described in 1869 by Ernst Haeckel this new science dealt with the study of the relationships between an organism and its environment. At the time, in the wake of the Darwinian revolution in biology, emphasis was placed on the specific characteristics each organism had evolved to in order to be successful in its habitat. About one hundred years later Hans Krebs led a new group of ecologists who looked at groups of organisms organized into populations and communities. They defined the science as the study of the relationships which determine the distribution and abundance of organisms. These population and community ecologists were establishing the dynamic nature of the relationships that organisms and species have with one another. More recently ecologists have recognized this dynamic set of relationships in the existence of the ecosystem and the biosphere. Called systems or global ecologists, they look for cause and effect relationships in what happens...