Ecology is the study of the interaction between environment and organism. Every organism is surrounded by an environment and there is an interaction with its surrounding biotic and abiotic components. Ecology deals with the various principles, which govern the relationships between organisms and their environment. Ecology is an interdisciplinary field that includes biology and Earth science. Reiter first used the term ecology in 1868. Ernst Haeckel (1886) first correctly defined ecology as “the science dealing with the reciprocal relationship of organisms and the external world”. Prof. R.Misra is known as “Father of ecology in India”.
Integrative levels, scope, and scale of organization
The study of ecology has many layers, ranging from the individual organism to the population, to the ecosystem, to the planet. The main aim of ecology is to study the interrelationship between organisms. i.e., Plants, animals and the environment. Studies like pollution, soil conservation, soil erosion, proper use of land, afforestation, control on deforestation, regulation of overgrazing, flood control, maintenance of soil fertility etc., are also done in the ecology.
1.1. Ecological hierarchy :
1.2. Branches of ecology
* Autecology: Ecology of a single species. i.e. the relation between a single species and its environment. Autecology includes population ecology.
* Synecology: Study of relationships between communities(the group of the population) and the environment.
* Gynaecology: Study of ecological adaptations in relation to genetic variability.
* Paleoecology: Study of the relationship of fossils of the organism in the environment.
* Applied ecology: Application of ecological concepts that deal with human welfare.
* Systems ecology: ecological concepts that are explained in terms of mathematical principles. Interpretation of ecological concepts in terms of mathematical principles.