The term “Ecology” is derived from two Greek words ‘oikos’ meaning house and ‘logos’ meaning study. It was coined by Ernest Haeckel. Eugene Pleasants Odum, the famous ecologist defined ecology as ‘the study of structure and function of nature’. In simple terms, ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the scientific study of the interactions among organisms and their physical environment. These two components of ecology namely, Organisms and their physical environment are related and interdependent. These components function as a system in an organized way. Environment influences and modifies the organisms; also organisms influence and modify the environment. And accordingly different ecosystems are formed.
If we take an example of a school, it is planned and grouped at several levels. Different students and teachers are divided into different classes based on some criteria. These classes on the other hand are arranged in the school. Few local schools are organized under a district administration. Few district schools are organized under a city administration and so on. In a similar way, ecosystem is also organized at several levels. Ecology includes the following levels of biological organization:
The branch Ecology is further divided into Autecology, Synecology. The following table brings out the major differences between Autecology and Synecology.
Environment is defined as sum total of all biotic and abiotic factors that influence an organism during its survival and reproduction. Mainly there are following two types of environments,
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