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Ecology, or ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment.

The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as insolation (sunlight), climate, and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat.

Ecology is usually considered a branch of biology, the general science that studies living organisms.

Organisms can be studied at many different levels, from proteins and nucleic acids (in biochemistry and molecular biology), to cells (in cellular biology), to individuals (in botany, zoology, and other similar disciplines), and finally at the level of populations, communities, and ecosystems, to the biosphere as a whole; these latter strata are the primary subjects of ecological inquiries.

Ecology is a multi-disciplinary science.

Because of its focus on the higher levels of the organization of life on earth and on the interrelations between organisms and their environment, ecology draws heavily on many other branches of science, especially geology and geography, meteorology, pedology, chemistry, and physics.

Thus, ecology is considered by some to be a holistic science, one that over-arches older disciplines such as biology which in this view become sub-disciplines contributing to ecological knowledge.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Ecology", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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November 28, 2015

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