Ecology is the study of all aspects of life in nature. It is the study of how species interact to maintain their ecosystems and to affect each other. The most prominent aspect of ecology is ecology of habitats, which studies how species are related and interact within their natural environments. Ecology also includes human society and the way we live by studying how human activities affect ecosystems. In the broadest sense, ecology is the science that informs us about the relationship between humans and their environment.
The word ‘ecology’ is derived from Greek words ekseios and oils, both of which mean ‘to dwell.’ The major aspects of ecology are population science, environmental science, ecosystem science, and the study of biodiversity. Within each of these areas of study, there are sub-disciplines. Among these sub-disciplines are ecological models, human populations and ecosystems, ecohydrology, and community ecology. All of these sub-disciplines are complex, and they are often discussed in scientific journals and research studies.
The major focus of ecohydrology is ocean chemistry and climate systems. It studies the effects of external factors like tides and storms on aquatic biological communities like plankton, bacteria, and other organisms. Community ecology is concerned with understanding the relationships among different ecosystems and their inhabitants, such as plant communities, birds, mammals, and insects. An essential part of this area of study is defining and managing ecosystems. Many variables have been studied including population trends, food supplies, and environmental quality. Ecologists evaluate the health of ecosystems through surveys of plant and animal communities, and laboratory studies on how species behave in specific environments.
Population ecology studies the relationships between people and their populations. This area of study examines how current and future trends in reproduction affect current and future populations of a species or population of animals and plants. Many factors affect reproductive rates, for instance, disease, nutrition, and law and legal restrictions to contraception.
Ecological research aims to understand and protect ecosystems and their biodiversity. Man made and natural habitats are both studied in the field of ecological research. These include human habitats, nature, and habitats. This is done through surveys, experiments, and data collection. Many types of ecologists work in the field of ecological research, some are specialized in particular areas of research. These are managers, conservationists, policy makers, and educators.
Science fiction often portrays an ecosystem as a self-sustaining, self-correcting, and all inclusive ecosystem that support all forms of life. The reality is that all living organisms in an ecosystem depend on one another and live from year to year. The rate at which individual species reproduces depends largely on the environment, the conditions in which the species grow, and other external factors. An ecosystem cannot provide the food, oxygen, and water necessary for all forms of life if those exist only within the boundaries of its own ecosystem.