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Ecology is an interdisciplinary science which studies the interaction between organisms and the biological, chemical and physical aspects of their environments. The word ecology is based from the Greek root oikos which translates to mean house. The environments which organisms reside in, termed ecosystems, are analogous to household units. It is the role of ecologists to study the population dynamics of these different ecosystems to better understand how organisms function within them.

Ecology is not limited to studying solely plants and animals. Ecology is a human science as well. Many ecologists research the patterns of human populations to investigate the demographics of different environments. Furthermore, there are a plethora of practical applications of ecology which extend to the human world. Conservation biology, epidemiology, natural resource management and ecological community planning are only a few examples.

The study of ecology is a multidimensional science in the sense that it conducts research on both small and large scales. Research can be done on individual or population levels which are representative of smaller scales. Conversely, ecologists can also observe the larger picture by analyzing scales such as those at the community and ecosystem levels.

More recently, ecology and evolution are two topics which have become very much intertwined. Since about the 1970s, there has been more research completed by geneticists exemplifying that unique relationships exist in different populations. Populations are the units which evolution influences and these evolutionary processes extend over long time periods. Fortunately, ecological research is particularly useful for collecting long-term data sets. 

It is critical to realize that ecology is not analogous to the study of natural history. Although these two fields of study may share some similarities, unlike natural history, ecology is an experimental field of study which requires the collection of data to draw relationships. Nevertheless, the study of ecology is absolutely fundamental to our understanding of population structures and the interaction of organisms within these systems. 




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Categories within Ecology


Postings: 16

Conservation is a fundamental topic to the study of ecology, and biology as a whole, which is based on the need to preserve and protect the planet’s biological diversity.

The Morality of Cell Harvest for Saving Lives

What are your thoughts regarding harvesting cells as far as a necessity in saving lives? I admire your insight, so I ask "do you think it is morally wrong not too?". Pros should certainly trump cons provided there are restrictions.

Eliminating Plastic Material ~ Gaining Ground?

When assessing our current trends as humans and our impact on our planet, what do you think about proposing the reduction of plastics? What if plastic was considered illegal? Do you think this would help our future?

Carbon cycle and ocean acidification: mitigations

Dear OTA, I have developed my own opinions regarding human over population and it's strain on our Earth (e.g. welfare/religions). One planetary boundary (of many) includes ocean acidification. Any ideas as to how to lessen this in years to come? I'm not even quite sure what defines it. Thank you in advance, An aspiring

Benefits of Biodiversity

Dear OTA, I am currently faced with the subject of biodiversity and how I actually benefit from it. On a broad scale I recognize that various resources and cultures can contribute to sustainability as a whole, but how do I explain how the general population benefits from it? I am also curious as to any insight regarding t


Summarize how ciguatoxin can enter and proceed up the food chain to the consumer. Be specific. The steps of how ciguatoxin can enter the food chain to the human consumer begin with the microscopic groups of protists called the dinoflagellates. (1) They are unicellular organisms that have flagella for movement. (1) They are ph

Endangered Species

Some opponents of endangered species efforts have argued that endangered species recovery is too expensive, stands in the way of individual property rights, and produces little to no results in the recovery of endangered species. Do you agree or disagree with this position? How important is biodiversity from a biological persp

Yellowstone National Park: Wolf Populations

What happened in Yellowstone National Park when wolves were eliminated, and what happened when they were reintroduced? Discuss how wolves were eliminated, what happened after they were eliminated (such as with the elk populations), and what happened when wolves were reintroduced?

Ecological Succession

Question: Define succession and differentiate between primary and secondary succession. Consider an area in which a natural community such as a forest, stream, prairie, etc. (not a town or city), has been disrupted in your part of the world, and discuss the successional changes it has gone through or will go through to get back

Discussing Concepts in Ecology

Hi, I need assistance understanding the following questions: Q1 - Choose one organism from the food web that fits into more than one trophic level and explain why and how this occurs. Q2- The introduction of non native species to Florida, such as the Melaleuca tree and the Australian Pine, create a disruption of the natura

Species study experiment

You are conducting fieldwork at your Week 5 topic site and discover two groups of organisms (i.e. fish, tree, mammals, etc. - pick a specific organism to examine) living on opposite sides of a natural divider in your week 5 topic site (mountain/lake/etc. - pick a natural divider). How would you design a study/experiment to deter


How does bioremediation restore stability or clean up toxic pollutants? How does bioremediation control levels of pollution?

Water quality testing parameters

1. Explain what is meant by indicator organisms when testing a water sample. 2. What are the media to determine the presence of the indicator organisms? 3. What are the morphological and biochemical characteristics of theses indicator organisms? 4. Discuss the three major species of Staphlococcus. Explain why one of

Human population ecology is assessed.

Considering what you know from reading the information in Chapter 13, is our population a concern? If so, how? Make sure you support your answer. You may include examples of areas of the U.S. that are overpopulated, underpopulated, etc. The name of the book and website: Belk, C., & Maier, V. (2010). Biology: Science for li

An Examination of Surtsey Succession

In 1963 a fiery volcanic eruption underwater just off the Iceland coast pushed the island of Surtsey above the waves. At first, it was a black cinder cone, barren of life. Surtsey grew to about a square mile in area. Ecologists seized on the chance to see how life would go about colonizing Surtsey. Within forty years, hundreds o

Problems with Acid Rain

I need help developing two alternative hypotheses and ecology-based experiments on the problem with acid rain.

Organism Behavior In Spring

I've been taking observations on Quail, Desert Hair, a Fugi Apple Tree, and a Cherry tree, and i am typing a full page(front&back) on each of the organisms i observed. I need some facts about the behaviors of these organisms indicative to Spring. i live in Nevada where the average high temperatures have been in the 60's and the

Succsession in a Flooded Forest

I have somewhat of a understanding of this scenario. However, I am looking for a second opinion.I would like understanding the following: This story begins about 7,000 years ago, with a small creek running through a forest. Beavers dam the creek to create a pond in which they can build a lodge. the beaver dam prevents the natur


Please help me understand at least two ways the use of bioremediation can benefit society and two ways that it could be harmful.

Biology study questions are posed.

Question 1 Choose the correct type of ecosystem for the following descriptions. Mediterranean climate, usually on the west coast of a land mass tundra taiga grassland chaparral savanna Question 2 text An arithmetic growth curve will have a steeper upward slope than an exponential growth cu

Identify and explain invasive aquatic species.

Identify one invasive aquatic species and describe how it was (most probably) introduced into the U.S. Outline how future introduction of this invasive aquatic species might be avoided or prevented.

Preserving animal species

Critically endangered animals, such as the Przewalski's horse, the vaquita, and the kakapo, have become extinct in the wild, or are soon to be doomed. As a member of the species that has wrought havoc on the habitat and subsistence of these creatures, what more could you think of doing to help preserve them? Along the same l

The role of humans in conservation - various opinions

Please help with the following questions: o What role, if any, do you think people should play in preserving those regions threatened by human encroachment? o How should the interests of competing groups be balanced? · Example: Drilling in the Arctic?environmental groups oppose the plan on the grounds of the destruction

Nitrogen Cycling

Assume that nitrogen cycling in a deciduous forest ecosystem is complete and involves all the producers, consumers and nitrogen fixing, denitrifying and ammonifying bacteria described in lecture a. Trace an atom of N (N15) that was released into the atmosphere of the forest through its route to a bacterial cell that releases