Ecology is the scientific specialty focused on the study and analysis of the link that arises between living beings and the environment that surrounds them, understood as the combination of abiotic factors (among which climate and geology can be mentioned) and biotic factors (organisms that share the habitat). Ecology also analyzes the distribution and quantity of living organisms as a result of the aforementioned relationship.
It should be noted that Ökologie is a concept that dates back to the late 1860s and was coined by the German-born biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel. This word is made up of two Greek words: oikos (which means “house”, “residence” or “home”) and logos (a term that, translated into Spanish, is understood as “study”). This is why ecology is precisely defined as “the study of homes”.
Ecology studies the relationship between living beings and the environment. According to Abbreviationfinder, ECO stands for Ecology.
Historical development of the concept
Although the origin of the term is doubtful, the researcher Haeckel is recognized as one of its creators, who when he began to develop his experiments defined it as that branch of science that revolves around the interaction of all living beings with the surface. that surrounds it. However, he eventually extended the concept to encompass the analysis of the properties of the medium, including the movement of matter and energy and their evolution as a result of the presence of biological assemblages.
Currently and for several years, ecology is closely related to a heterogeneous political and social movement, which tries to act in defense of the environment. Environmentalists make different social complaints, propose the need for legal reforms and promote social awareness to achieve their main objective, which is the conservation of human health without damaging or altering the balance of natural ecosystems.
For this reason, the environmental cause (also known as the green or environmental movement) focuses on three major issues of universal scope: the preservation and regeneration of natural resources; the protection of wildlife and the reduction of the level of pollution generated by humanity.
Ecological experts analyze how biotic factors and abiotic factors combine.
Ecology and homeostasis
A fundamental element of ecology is homeostasis, which consists of all the species that inhabit a balanced natural environment tend to self-regulate and remain more or less constant in number of inhabitants, in this way the environment ensures an equitable distribution of the resources and never lack them. In an environment that has been modified by the hand of man, homeostasis is more difficult to find, and for this reason natural imbalances occur.
Ecology is currently considered to be a branch of the biological sciences, and is responsible for studying the interactions between living organisms and the natural environment in which they inhabit. It is a multidisciplinary science that, in order to develop as such, needs other sciences to understand the entire study of the environment. Among these other sciences are climatology, biology, ethics, and chemical engineering.
All biotic processes are characterized by the transfer of energy, which is why they can be studied by physics and understood within their natural laws; The metabolic and physiological processes of subsystems are dealt with by chemistry because they depend on chemical reactions. The structure of biomes is studied by geology because it is closely related to the geological structure of the dream and living beings, by interacting with the environment, can modify their geology. With regard to calculations, statistics and projections to draw conclusions from specific and numerical information, those in charge of studying them are mathematics.. To carry out the study of each aspect of life in an ecosystem, ecology uses the other sciences, for this reason it is said to be multidisciplinary.
The study of ecosystems
To study ecosystems, ecology establishes different levels of organization, which are: being (everything that exists, living or inert), individual (any living being whatever its species), species (group of individuals that share a genome, with phenotypic characteristics), population (individuals of a species that share a habitat), community (set of populations that share a habitat), ecosystem (combination and interaction between biotic and abiotic factors in nature), biome (plant communities that share a geographic area) and biosphere(set of ecosystems that are part of the planet. It is an ecological unit that refers to the entire inhabited part of the planet).
Scientists who research and theorize about ecology are called ecologists. There are two branches of ecology that are autoecology (individual species and their multiple relationships with the environment) and synecology (communities and their relationships with the environment).
Types of ecology according to the object of interest
In turn, according to what ecologists investigate, they collaborate with a certain type of ecology, such as:
Behavioral ecology is the one in charge of studying food harvesting techniques, adaptations to predation or natural disasters, and reproductive relationships.
Population ecology is responsible for studying the processes that have to do with homeostasis, distribution and abundance of populations, both animal and plant. The fluctuations in the number of individuals of each species, the predator-prey relationships and the genetics of the populations.
Community ecology is responsible for studying the functioning and ways of organizing a community, made up of interacting populations. These ecologists investigate the ranges of species, the reasons why some are more numerous than others, and the factors that affect community stability.
Paleoecology, meanwhile, is an important area that studies fossil organisms. From the study of the species of the past, it is possible to understand the techniques of collection, reproduction and others that current organisms possess.