Friday, September 26, 2014

Introduction: Definition and Scope of Ecology

Answers

  1. Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and the interactions that determine distribution and abundance.
  2. This section does not cover the uses of ecology. Ecology covers organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems.

Digest

  • definition of ecology
  • history of how ecology was defined:
    • 1869 by Ernest Haeckel: Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environment. Haeckel is the one who coined the term ecology.
    • 1972 by Krebs: "Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms."
    • Preferred definition: "Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and the interactions that determine distribution and abundance."
    • 1992 by Likens: "Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and the interactions between organisms and the transformation and flux of energy and matter."
  • Two approaches to taken by ecologists at each level of ecological organisation:
    • Building from properties at the level below: ex: physiology when studying organismal ecology
    • Directly with properties of the level of interest: ex: rate of biomass production at the ecosystem level
  • Biological hierarchy
  • Ecological organization:
  • biotic vs. abiotic
Ecological Organization
Ecological Organization

Questions

  1. What is the definition of ecology?
  2. What are the uses of ecology and what does it cover?