Ecology: Short Paragraph on Ecology

Here is your paragraph on Ecology !

Ecology is basically concerned with interrelationships between organisms and their environment.

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The word ‘ecology’ comes from the Greek word, ‘Oikos’ which means ‘home’ or ‘habitat’ and it combines the word with ‘logos’, to mean ‘the study’.

From the very beginning man is interested in the surroundings. His knowledge regarding the mysteries of nature and life has developed with experience and power of reasoning. The scientific and technological advancements of recent days although help men to solve some of their problems but many other problems have been created at the same time.

Moreover, nature’s wealth is gradually diminishing with population explosion and scientific progress. Surroundings seem to be spoilt with filthy air and dirty water. Many old species have gone in the way of extinction.

Therefore, the inquisitive scholars from various disciplines have come forward to study the different aspects of environment. Anthropologists became especially interested in the matter of environment because they believe man as a product of interactions between heredity and environment. The phenotypic expressions that are manifested through genes are produced by the interplay of heredity and environmental factors.

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As a matter of fact, the environment has a great impact on the biological evolution as well as cultural evolution of man. Besides, the variations among the populations of distant geographical regions may sometimes be explained as the differential environmental conditions under which the people are compelled to live.

Ecology is basically concerned with interrelationships between organisms and their environment. The word ‘ecology’ comes from the Greek word, ‘Oikos’ which means ‘home’ or ‘habitat’ and it combines the word with ‘logos’, to mean ‘the study’.

Although the term was coined about 150 years ago but its use was first found in 1865 by German biologist, H. Reiter. Another German biologist, Ernest Haeckel defined it in 1866 as “the body of knowledge concerning the economy of nature — the investigation of the total relations of the animal, both to its inorganic and organic environment, including above all its friendly and inimical relations with those animals and plants with which it comes directly or indirectly into contact”.

More recently, renowned American ecologist Eugene. P. Odum defined ecology as “the study of structure and function of nature ” (Odum, 1963). The Indian ecologist R. Misra (1967) defines ecology as “the study of interactions of form, functions and factors “. In general, these definitions indicate a wide scope of ecology.

Since ecology focuses on interrelationships of organisms within their environments, it includes the study of both living and non-living environments. When man is held as an organism, apart from himself, all other plants, animals and even the varied materials of the earth make up his environment. So it cannot be denied that a distinctive way of life of an organism is dependent on both the living (organic) and non-living (inorganic) constituents of the environment.

We know that the plants provide food for all the other animals including man, directly or indirectly. But the plants also have to depend upon the animals for pollination, dispersal, carbon-dioxide requirements and other needs. Not only that, the physical environment itself is supported by the organisms in different ways.

For example, the plants can modify the temperature and humidity, the animals are able to modify the physicochemical properties of the soil by trampling or burrowing. It has also been understood that the components of non-living environment are intimately related to each other and so a change in one component always affects the others, considerably.

A Conceptual Model showing the Relationship between Organisms and Environmental Components

For instance, the water in its three forms can modify the light and temperature of the environment. The heat causes the movement of air mass and also increases the rate of evaporation of water from soil and plants. Such a complex relationships of the organisms and the environment, among themselves and with each other give rise to the subject of ecology.

Ecological ideas are actually very deep- rooted in human history although the use of the term ecology is comparatively recent. Man became aware of this organism-environment relationship very slowly in course his exploration for survival. In the late phase of twentieth century, the growth of ecology extended across the continents. The study of man as a biological and cultural entity went under the fold of ecology.

Nowadays ecology is studied in several ways. As a subject, it is divided into various sub­divisions. The most common classification on the branches of ecology is based on the habitat, where the organisms live. Four branches are obtained here such as Terrestrial ecology, Fresh water ecology (Limnology), Marine ecology (Oceanography) and Estuarine ecology. Ecology can also classified with emphasis on some communities (forest ecology, grassland ecology, etc.) or some taxonomic groups (mammalian ecology, insect ecology, human ecology, etc.).

Another aspect in organism- environment relationship leads to the formulation of geographical ecology (explanation of present and past distribution of the organisms), evolutionary ecology (explanation of the environmental causes of speciation and evolution), physiological ecology (physiological responses of organisms to their environment), ethology or Behavioural ecology (concerned with animal behaviour), genecology (to study ecological adaptations in relation to genetic variability), radiation ecology (effects, of radiation on organisms) etc.

Recent period is the hallmark for the development of applied ecology and systems ecology. Applied ecology utilizes the concepts of ecology in human welfare. Systems ecology is concerned with the interpreting of the ecological concepts and processes’, in terms of mathematical formulae and models so that the predictions can be made about future events resulting from the manipulations of nature. The various divisions and sub-divisions indicate a wide area of scientific enquiry for which the subject ecology has got the honour of an interdisciplinary synthetic science.

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