OVERVIEW FROM WIKIPEDIA:
Ecology (from Ancient Greek οἶκος (oîkos) 'house', and -λογία (-logía) 'study of')[A] is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overlaps with the closely related sciences of biogeography, evolutionary biology, genetics, ethology, and natural history. Ecology is a branch of biology, and it is not synonymous with environmentalism.
Among other things, ecology is the study of:
- The abundance, biomass, and distribution of organisms in the context of the environment
- Life processes, antifragility, interactions, and adaptations
- The movement of materials and energy through living communities
- The successional development of ecosystems
- Cooperation, competition, and predation within and between species
- Patterns of biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem processes
Ecology has practical applications in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management(agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries, mining, tourism), urban planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology).
The word ecology (German: Ökologie) was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel. The science of ecology as we know it today began with a group of American botanists in the 1890s. Evolutionary concepts relating to adaptation and natural selection are cornerstones of modern ecological theory.
Ecosystems are dynamically interacting systems of organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living (abiotic) components of their environment. Ecosystem processes, such as primary production, nutrient cycling, and niche construction, regulate the flux of energy and matter through an environment. Ecosystems have biophysicalfeedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and abiotic components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and provide ecosystem services like biomass production (food, fuel, fiber, and medicine), the regulation of climate, global biogeochemical cycles, water filtration, soil formation, erosioncontrol, flood protection, and many other natural features of scientific, historical, economic, or intrinsic value.