The following Topics and Sub-Topics are covered in this chapter and are available on MSVgo:
‘Ecology’ comprises the study of living organisms, their interdependence with other living organisms (mammals, insects, reptiles, micro-organisms) around them, along with their interactivity with their abiotic environment (non-living elements such as water, soil, air, land and sea, etc.).
Ecology can be categorized into two types, based on classification:
The ecological jargon involves biotic and abiotic elements, with varying complexities depending on the size of the scale in perspective. The following sequence is observed in Ecology for careful categorization and realization of organisms:
Organism → Species (population) → Biotic community → Ecosystem → Biome → Biosphere
While an environment refers to the natural surroundings of organisms, it is difficult to explain it further without establishing the basis of classification. Habitat is the natural environment of an organism, where it tends to live, grow, and reproduce. It is a defined ecological area that is compatible with that specific organism. Habitats include abiotic components like water, temperature, light and soil, along with the biotic components, such as other species and organisms, predators, competitors, etc.
A Niche involves the interaction of a species with its environment. Species are dependent on the quality of those abiotic and biotic factors for survival. When belonging to the same niche, organisms share a similar level of interaction to a range of factors that provide an optimum environment for survival.
Abiotic factors consist of climatic conditions such as temperature, soil, water, air, light; along with the inorganic and organic chemical components such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, carbohydrate, proteins, lipids, etc. that are necessary to sustain the biotic community. Following are some of the fundamental abiotic factors:
The responses of biotic organisms to the abiotic factors that they are exposed to help us understand their optimum conditions, and thus ensure their survival. Following are the generally observed responses:
Along with interactions with abiotic factors, organisms interact with one another for their survival. This synergy is what makes the study of ecology essential, as we can obtain better insights about an organism by studying the biological interactions that it undergoes during its lifespan. Here are some of the important biological interactions:
Ecology, when studied at an organism level, tries to interpret various species and their ability to adapt to their environment for their needs and survival. Understanding ecology and its inherent ecosystems help us identify various patterns and anomalies of nature, and thus ensure its integrity, while effectively maintaining its bountiful resources. To learn more about ecology and environment, download the MSVgo app. With an extensive video library, it employs visualisations or animations to explain concepts with examples.