Ecology refers to the scientific study of the interactions due to which the distribution of organisms in the environment is determined. This also shows the close relationship between ecology and the environment. There are questions asked by ecologists pertaining to the environment across four biological organisation levels – an ecosystem, community, population, and organismal. The term environment refers to our surroundings in a natural setting. It means all the externalities that affect the living organisms on Earth.
Origin of Ecology
The science of ecology has gone through a period of gradual development in its history. This concept can be found in Aristotle’s writings as well as in the writings of other Greek philosophers. The German Biologist Ernest Hackel was the first one to come up with the term ‘ecology’ in 1866. This word has a Greek origin involving:
- Oikos- ‘household’
- Logos- ‘the study of’
As such, ecology means the study of organisms at home. This field mainly concerns itself with the connections of biological nature. It also involves the study of the processes of organisms, land, water, etc.
Experts also refer to ecology as the scientific study of the interactions due to which the distribution of organisms is determined. It is the study of natural environment management, and it involves the various relationships of organisms. These relationships are with other organisms as well as with the natural environment. This shows the connection between ecology and the environment.
Ecology is multidisciplinary, as it encompasses various fields, such as the following:
- Earth Science
An important point to note is that the focus of ecology is not always on the environment. Instead, the field also concentrates on the human being. The practical applications in ecology are as follows:
- Conservation biology
- Restoration ecology
- Resource management
- Wetland management
What is Environment?
The physical environment refers to the surroundings of living organisms on Earth. It also involves the elements with which these living organisms interact. However, the physical environment is not the only aspect of it, as the environment is made up of other types of elements as well. These are:
- Chemical attributes
- Biological attributes
Therefore, an environment involves the following two types of factors:
Both these factors play an instrumental role in the survival of organisms. They also contribute to the evolution and development of organisms. As such, there is a definite relationship between ecology and the environment.
Environment and Conservation
Environmental conservation refers to the practice of saving the environment from human intervention. The environment needs to be protected from various factors such as the following:
- Loss of species
- Depletion of natural resources
- Destruction of the ecosystem
- Increasing pollution in land, air, and water
- Soil erosion
As such, conservation is crucial in saving Earth against all these harmful factors. Conservation can help protect living organisms like trees and animals. Also, it would ensure that our future generations do not run out of necessary resources and find a cleaner environment to live in.
Difference Between Ecology and Environment
Many people confuse ecology with the environment, thinking they are the same thing. However, there are differences between the two. The difference between ecology and environment can be understood from the following points:
- The environment is everything in the world or the physical surrounding. In contrast, ecology involves the study of all the elements in the environment.
- Experts describe the environmental components with respect to their relationships with ecology.
- The existence of an environment is possible without life. However, ecology completely depends on life, as it involves both abiotic and biotic elements.
Ecology refers to the scientific study of the interactions due to which the determination of the distribution of organisms in our natural environment takes place. We can say that there is a close relationship between ecology and the environment. Ecology depends on four bio-organisational levels – ecosystem, community, population, and organismal. Our natural surroundings are what is referred to as the environment. The practice of saving the environment from human intervention is called environmental conservation. People may confuse the terms ecology and environment, but there are certain differences between them.