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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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    BrainMass Categories within Ecology


    Solutions: 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.

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    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

    The Hydrologic Cycle and Water Use

    Examine the hydrologic cycle and various methods of water use and management. What changes might occur in the hydrologic cycle if our climate were to warm up or cool down significantly?

    Discussing Concepts in Ecology

    Please provide 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 na

    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

    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

    The Disappearance of the Sun

    It has been hypothesized that if the sun disappeared all life would end. Other than the obvious drop in temperature, why would humans probably die if the sun suddenly stopped shining? Justify your response with specific details.

    Effects of Biodiversity in Organisms

    We often hear about various controversial issues that involve humans and other organisms. Sometimes development is halted in order to preserve habitats of organisms like the Spotted Owl, the Sea Turtle, the Alabama Beach Mouse, etc. Should we be concerned with the survival of other species such as those stated? Should we only be

    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.

    Animal and plant behaviour 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

    R-selected organisms

    Generally, r-selected organisms exhibit: a. short life spans and early maturity b. long life spans and extended parental care of offspring c. long development time to maturity, but small body size d. large body size and extended parental care of offspring e. large body size, but short life spans

    Species competition

    When two members of the same species compete for a limited resource, resulting in equal sharing of the limited resource, it is termed: a. interspecific scramble competition b. intraspecific scramble competition c. interspecific contest competition d. intraspecific contest competition e. density-independent competitio

    Paleoclimate and Data

    Describes the principal source of paleoclimate data available from Antarctica, and states what information it provides and explains which of the available data is proxy data.

    Importance of biodiversity

    This solution addresses why biodiversity is important to us as citizens of planet Earth. It explains the moral obligations to maintain biodiversity, in addition to practical reasons why maintaining a broad array of plants and animals is important for the environment and for human health.