Ecology and Ecosystem - Biology Educare (2023)

The place where living organisms live with their surrounding forms its environment. Both physical and biotic environment together forms environment. Soil, water, air, light, temperature, topography, biogenic salt, pH, humidity, pressure, etc. form physical environment, whereas the plants, animals, microorganisms, food, parasites, enemies, etc. form the biotic environment. Living organisms and environments are interdependent. With the combined interaction of these components, nature maintains a steady and stable continuity of life flow in the environment.


The branch of science which reveals the interrelationship between the living organism and the environment is known as ecology. German biologist Ernst Haeckel first proposed the term ecology in 1869. The term ‘Ecology’ is derived from the Greek word “Oikos” and “logos”. In this case, “Oikos” means house or dwelling space while “logos” means knowledge.

Branches of Ecology


It is concerned with the study of the interactions of the individual organism or an individual species with the non-living and living factors of its environment. It is also known as species ecology or population ecology. The term “Autecology” was first established in the late 19th century by German Botanist. By studying the Autecology we understand the relationships between the environment and individual organism.


It is concerned with the study of groups of organisms of different species that are associated together as a unit in the form of a community. By studying the “Synecology”, we understand the relationships between the environment and communities. Synecology is also known as community ecology.

Importance of Ecology

If we study ecology, we measure the impact of natural resources. We also make the interaction with biotic and abiotic factors on the earth. Some fundamental importance of ecology are listed below:

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  • Ecology helps to conserve the environment.
  • Ecology helps to measure the damage of the environment that human being created.
  • Ecology provides information on how the world works.
  • It also provides facts on the interdependence between the people and the natural world.
  • By studying ecology, we can take part in the conservation efforts for ensuring the longevity of the planet.
  • By studying ecology we understand how the planet works.
  • Ecology offers a helpful indication of the interdependence between the people and the natural world.
  • We can understand human activity on the environment.
  • Ecology provides the principal basis for nature conservation.
  • Ecology helps to identify ecological characteristics and how to preserve it.
  • It helps to predict the ecological effect of pollution by measuring the pollution levels.
  • It helps to make predictions about future climate change.
  • Ecology makes easy to understand the communities and their interactions.
  • Ecology helps to monitor the threatened species more closely.
  • Ecology provides essential information about the benefits of the environment.
  • It helps to make ways for judicious use of earth`s natural resources.
  • It helps to make the environment healthy for future generations.
  • It provides information to understand the world around us.
  • It helps to improve our environment and protect human health.


The ecosystem is the functional unit of ecology, which deals with the interrelation between the living and the non-living objects of the environment. The term ecosystem was first used by Cristian Scientist Arthur Tansley in 1935. Almost all biotic community is formed from plants, animals, and microbes. The plants and animals of a particular area related to each other are called biotic community or simply community.

Important Terms Related to Ecosystem

Autotrophs: Chlorophyll-containing green plants are known as autotrophs. They act as producer in an ecosystem.

Homeostasis: It is the process during which the biological system tend to resist change and to remain in a state of equilibrium.

Biosphere: The parts of the earth i.e. the different strata of air, soil, and water, where living organisms survive or live together is known as the biosphere.

Plankton: The term “Plankton” was first introduced by German Ecologist Victor Hensen in 1887. The term plankton indicates any dead or living organism (plants and animals) that floats passively in water and which are more or less dependent on water currents or wind action for their movement. Plankton is of two types such as phytoplankton and zooplankton. Here autotrophic components are known as phytoplankton while heterotrophic components are known as zooplankton.

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Benthos: The organisms attached with or resting on the bottom or living in the bottom sediments are known as benthos.

Nekton: Aquatic animals which can swim freely in water are known as nekton such as fish, whale, aquatic insects, etc.

Population: Population is defined as a group of organisms of the same species occupying a particular area. The term population is derived from the Latin word ‘populous’ meaning people. E.P. Odum (1971) defined the population as, “a population is a group of organisms of the same species occupying a specific area having characteristics, which are statistical measures that cannot be applied to individuals”.

Biotic Community: A biotic community is any assemblage of populations of living organisms in a prescribed area of habitat.

Types of Ecosystems

There are many types of ecosystems. Among them, some general types of ecosystems are described below:

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Aquatic Ecosystem

Aquatic plants and animals form the aquatic ecosystem. It is the largest ecosystem because they represent 75% of the total ecosystem. It varies in size from an ocean to a pond or pool of water. The aquatic ecosystem can be further divided into two types such as Freshwater and saltwater ecosystem. The freshwater ecosystem includes ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, etc while the saltwater ecosystem includes seas.

You might also read: Aquatic Ecosystem, Types and Components

Terrestrial Ecosystem

It is a certain terrestrial space or place where animals and plants live and develop. According to abiotic factors, terrestrial ecosystem comprises of the forest ecosystem, an ecosystem of grassland, desert regions, etc. It is one of the larger ecosystems which are also known as biomass or ecological regions.

Natural Ecosystem

It is a community of living and non-living beings, where every part cooperates together as a unit through a biological, physical and chemical process. The uniqueness of the natural ecosystem is that they are simply characteristic and their developments are not at all impacted by human activities. Forests, lakes, deserts, etc form the natural ecosystem.

Artificial Ecosystem

An artificial ecosystem is a man-made an ecosystem where animals, plants, and people live together in a specific area with their surroundings. Zoo parks, gardens, aquarium, etc create an artificial ecosystem because it is a human-made area where you keep animals and plants similar to their natural habitat.

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The ecosystem which occurs in very small space that may be only a few centimeters with critical environmental factors such as temperature, nutrient supply, chemical substances, solid substrates, gaseous substrates, etc. This type of ecosystem requires very exact conditions to exist.


When ecosystem is composed of lots of fauna and flora and such ecosystem is known as macro ecosystem. It is also called biomes and it has undergone changes throughout the history of the earth. Examples: Lake of Maracaibo, the mountain range of the Andes or the Caribbean Sea, etc.

Conservation of Ecosystems

At present many ecosystems have faced risky conditions due to human activities. To make a better ecosystem, awareness about the conservation of the ecosystem is very important. They have intrinsic values because healthy ecosystems reduce global warming and provide food and medicines for our well-being. In this case, the following points should be carefully kept in mind to make a better ecosystem.

  • Use of fuel energy should be reduced;
  • We should use environmentally friendly products that make safe environment;
  • We do not alter our surroundings;
  • Always we should respect our environment;
  • We try to make moderate use of water.
  • Limit all you can consumption and all waste. In this case, recycling would be best.

You might also read: Wildlife and Its Conservation


What is ecosystem ecology in biology? ›

Ecosystem ecology is a branch of study and thinking within the ecological sciences that focuses on the ecosystem—a dynamic network of interactions of organisms and their environment—and the importance of these interactions to the organisms and earth system processes.

What are 6 topics studied in ecology? ›

The different types of ecology include- molecular ecology, organismal ecology, population ecology, community ecology, global ecology, landscape ecology and ecosystem ecology.

What is the relationship between ecology and ecosystem? ›

Ecosystem is an ecological unit which includes all the organisms living in a particular area and all the abiotic (non living) features of the local environment. Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of life and the interactions between organisms and their natural environment.

What is an ecosystem semester 1? ›

An ecosystem is a structural and functional unit of ecology where the living organisms interact with each other and the surrounding environment. In other words, an ecosystem is a chain of interactions between organisms and their environment.

What is an example of ecology in biology? ›

For example, an ecosystem ecologist might learn how beaver dams affect water flow through a forest ecosystem and how that impacts the survival of aquatic species or the distribution of sediment. A coral reef ecologist might study how changes in water temperature impact coral survival.

Why is it important to study ecosystem ecology? ›

Why is ecology important? Ecology enriches our world and is crucial for human wellbeing and prosperity. It provides new knowledge of the interdependence between people and nature that is vital for food production, maintaining clean air and water, and sustaining biodiversity in a changing climate.

What are the 4 main fields of ecology? ›

What Are The Different Fields Of Ecology?
  • Aquatic Ecology. It deals with the study of ecosystems found in water bodies such as estuarine, freshwater and marine. ...
  • Microbial Ecology. ...
  • Terrestrial Ecology. ...
  • Taxonomic Ecology. ...
  • Systems Ecology. ...
  • Evolutionary Ecology. ...
  • Behavioural Ecology. ...
  • Population Ecology.

What are the 4 branches of ecology? ›

1.1. 4. Branches of ecology
  • • Animal ecology – It is the study of animals in relation to their environment.
  • • Plant ecology –It is the study of plants in relation to their environment.
  • • Habitat ecology -It deals with the study of habitats.
  • • Marine ecology - It deals with marine habitat.
Mar 30, 2012

What are the 3 types of ecology? ›

Some types are landscape ecology, population ecology, and behavioral ecology. Landscape ecology deals with spatial distribution, patterns, and behaviors across large geographical areas.

What is the similarity between ecosystem and ecology? ›

Both ecology and ecosystem describe the relationship and interactions of the living organisms with each other and their surrounding environment. These relationships and interactions with each other fulfill their basic requirements of life like food, nutrients, water, and residence.

What is ecosystem in simple words? ›

An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life. Ecosystems contain biotic or living, parts, as well as abiotic factors, or nonliving parts. Biotic factors include plants, animals, and other organisms.

How many types of ecosystems are there? ›

There are two types of ecosystem: A terrestrial ecosystem, and a Water Ecosystem.

What is ecology in biology summary? ›

Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interaction among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and their abiotic environment. Ecologists try to understand the inner workings of natural ecosystems and the species they contain.

What are the main concepts of ecology? ›

Ecology is that part of biology that examines the abundance and distribution of organisms, and the interrelationships between organisms and their environment. Ecologists seek to utilize existing and new information to understand and preserve the ability of Earth to sustain all forms of life (including humans).

What is ecology and ecosystem summary? ›

Ecology is the study of natural systems, and an ecosystem is a natural system where abiotic (nonliving) and biotic (living) components interact with one another. An ecosystem differs from a biome, which is an area defined by its climatic conditions and a community, which does not include an area's abiotic components.

What are 3 reasons why ecosystems are important? ›

Healthy ecosystems clean our water, purify our air, maintain our soil, regulate the climate, recycle nutrients and provide us with food. They provide raw materials and resources for medicines and other purposes. They are at the foundation of all civilisation and sustain our economies.

What are some examples of ecology in everyday life? ›

By bringing the idea of 'nature' down to earth, ecology becomes the very stuff of our everyday lives: the crowded street in our neighborhood, the water with which we wash our clothes, both sky scraper and smoke-stack, as well as the plants, animals, and other creatures with whom we share this planet.

What are the 7 main types of ecosystems? ›

The major types of ecosystems are forest, desert, rain forest, grassland, tundra, savanna and mountain ecosystem.

What are the 8 major types of ecosystems? ›

There are eight major terrestrial biomes: tropical rainforests, savannas, deserts, chaparral, temperate grasslands, temperate forests, taiga (boreal forests), and Arctic tundra.

What are the 5 main levels of ecology? ›

Within the discipline of ecology, researchers work at five broad levels, sometimes discretely and sometimes with overlap: organism, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere.

What are the two main types of ecology? ›

There are various kinds of ecology and they are given below :
  • Global Ecology - Global ecology is the study of the interactions among the Earth's environments, land, air and seas.
  • Landscape Ecology - It deals with the study of the exchange of vitality, materials, living beings and various other parts of the ecosystem.
Oct 10, 2022

What are the 2 main branches of ecology? ›

Solution : Ecology is mainly divided into two branches, they are autecology and synecology. <br> (i) Autecology is the Ecology of an individual species and is also called species ecology. <br> (ii) Synecology is the Ecology of a population or community with one or more species and also called as community Ecology.

What are the 10 rules of ecology? ›

The Ten Principles of Ecology
  • Evolution organizes ecological systems into hierarchies. ...
  • The sun is the ultimate source of energy for most ecosystems. ...
  • Organisms are chemical machines that run on energy. ...
  • Chemical nutrients cycle repeatedly while energy flows through an ecosystem. ...
  • dN/dt=B-X+I. ...
  • dS/dt=D-X+I.
Jul 17, 2017

What is the difference between in ecosystem and ecology? ›

Ecology is the study of living entities or organisms, as well as their interactions and relationships with their surroundings. The ecosystem, on the other hand, is a subset of ecology that encompasses all of the complex interactions between living and nonliving organisms in a community or area.

What is the main difference between ecology and environmental biology? ›

The main difference between environmental biology and ecology is that environmental biology is the study of how organisms interact with their environment, while ecology is the study of how populations of organisms interact with each other and their environment.

What are the 4 types of ecosystem? ›

The four ecosystem types are classifications known as artificial, terrestrial, lentic and lotic. Ecosystems are parts of biomes, which are climatic systems of life and organisms.

What is the nature of ecosystem ecology? ›

Ecosystem ecology is the combined study of the physical and biological components of ecosystems. It focuses on how matter and energy flow through both organisms and the abiotic components of the environment.

What are the 3 types of ecosystem? ›

Ecosystem Categories

There are three broad categories of ecosystems based on their general environment: freshwater, marine, and terrestrial.

How is ecosystem ecology different from community ecology? ›

Community ecology focuses on the processes driving interactions between differing species and their overall consequences. Ecosystem ecology studies all organismal, population, and community components of an area, as well as the non-living counterparts.


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