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See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: <a href=https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310021474 Introduction to Ecology Presentation · September 2005 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29913.52320 CITATIONS READS 0 545 1 author: A. Balasubramanian University of Mysore 344 PUBLICATIONS 270 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects: Ecological Modeling of Dalavoy Lake in Mysore City, Karnataka, India View project Geochemical Modelling of Groundwater for Prevention of Incrustation in the Water Supply Systems of Salem, Tamil Nadu, India View project All content following this page was uploaded by A. Balasubramanian on 13 November 2016. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file. " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">

See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310021474

Presentation · September 2005

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29913.52320

 

CITATIONS

READS

0

545

1

author:

344 PUBLICATIONS 270 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE
344 PUBLICATIONS
270 CITATIONS
SEE PROFILE

Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

  • Ecological Modeling of Dalavoy Lake in Mysore City, Karnataka, India View project

  • Geochemical Modelling of Groundwater for Prevention of Incrustation in the Water Supply Systems of Salem, Tamil Nadu, India View project

All content following this page was uploaded by A. Balasubramanian on 13 November 2016.

The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.

INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGY By Prof. A. Balasubramanian, University of Mysore

Environment:

8-9-2005

Environment is the total set of circumstances surrounding life.

The subject Environmental Science deals with the conditions and factors controlling the habitat. Every life thrives on the land, water, air, feed, materials and all natural processes of the globe.

Environmental Science:

Environmental science is an indispensable tool for maintaining the quality of human civilization.

With the dual crises of population explosion and deteriorating environment, the subject of ecology has taken on the utmost importance to everyone.

Most of the natural processes and activities are inter-related.

Every natural process or human activity has an impact on the environment.

Similarly, any change in the surrounding environment has an impact on all life.

Introductory Modules:

The introduction to the Science of Ecology are covered under the following modules:

Definition and Scope

History of Ecology

Environmental interactions

Major sub-divisions of Ecology

Other Branches of Ecology

A. DEFINITION AND SCOPE:

The term ecology is derived from the Greek "oikos " meaning `habitation' or `house’. It refers to the `living

place of life'.

Ecology is the study of organisms `at home' which is called as the `environment'.

The terms “life and environment” are inseparable.

The Science of Ecology involves:

the study of the relation of organisms or a group of organisms to their environment and the study of the totality of man and his environment.

Ecology is Environmental Biology:

It is well known that Biology is the science of life.

Since ecology also deals with the life and its surrounding conditions, it is also called as “ Environmental biology”.

Ecology deals with:

1. the spatial distribution of an abundance of organisms

2. the temporal changes in the occurrence, abundance and activities of organisms

3. the interrelations between organisms, communities and populations

4. the structural adaptation and functional adjustments of organisms to the change in environment,

5. the behaviour of organisms under natural environment, the productivity of organisms

6. energy and other natural resources to mankind and

7. the development of interactive models for analytical or predictive purposes.

Ecology is a common aspect:

Because of its focus on the higher levels of the organization of life on earth and on the interrelations between organisms and their environment, ecology draws heavily on many other branches of science, especially geology and geography, meteorology, pedology, chemistry, and physics. Thus, ecology is said to be a holistic science.

B. HISTORY OF ECOLOGY The History of Ecology goes along with the History of Science. Ecology was first described as a separate discipline in 1886 by the German Biologist Ernst Haeckel. It is a multidisciplinary science aimed to deal with many environmental problems. In the History of Science, ecological thinking has been around for several decades. Since it is related to life systems, the development was contemporary to other biological disciplines. Literature sources indicate that, the first ecologists may have been Aristotle or perhaps his student, Theophrastus, both of whom had interest in many species of animals.

Theophrastus described the interrelationships between animals and between animals and their environment as early as the 4th century BC. The exposition on botanical geography by the German explorer , Alexander von Humboldt, is another significant contribution to the growth of ecological understanding. The Other contributions came from many world expeditions to develop maritime commerce with other countries, and to discover new natural resources, as well as to catalog them. At the beginning of the 18th century, about twenty thousand plant species were known, versus forty thousand at the beginning of the 19th century, and almost 400,000 today. Due to this, Alexander von Humboldt is often considered to be the Father of Ecology. He was the first to take on the study of the relationship between organisms and their environment. He exposed the existing relationships between observed plant species and climate, and described vegetation zones using latitude and altitude, a discipline now known as geobotany.

Charles Darwin Towards 1850, there was a breakthrough in the field.

The publishing of the work of Charles Darwin on The Origin of Species has made a significant input in to the concepts of Ecology.

From that time onwards, Ecology has passed out from a repetitive, mechanical model to a biological, organic, and hence evolutionary model.

Alfred Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary and competitor to Darwin, was first to propose a "geography" of animal species.

Several authors recognized at the time that species were not independent of each other, and grouped them into plant species, animal species, and later into communities of living beings or biocoenosis. This term was coined in 1877 by Karl Möbius.

By the 19th century, ecology blossomed due to new discoveries in chemistry.

Since then, with the industrial revolution, more and more pressing concerns have grown about the impact of human activity on the environment.

During the early 20th century, there was an expansion of ecological thought.

The term ecologist has been in use since the end of the 19th century.

Over the 19th century, botanical geography and zoogeography combined to form the basis of biogeography.

This science, which deals with habitats of species, seeks to explain the reasons for the presence of certain species in a given location.

The Ecosystem: Arthur Tansley

It was in 1935 that Arthur Tansley, the British ecologist, coined the term ecosystem, the interactive system established between the biocoenosis (the group of living creatures), and their biotope, the environment in which they live.

Ecology thus became the science of ecosystems.

Tansley's concept of the ecosystem was adopted by the energetic and influential biology educator Eugene Odum.

Ecology and global policy:

Ecology became a central part of the World's politics as early as 1971, UNESCO launched a research program called Man and Biosphere, with the objective of increasing knowledge about the mutual relationship between humans and nature.

A few years later, it defined the concept of Biosphere Reserve.

C. ENVIRONMENTAL INTERACTIONS:

Ecology deals with organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems and the biosphere. A lot of interactions between the life and the surrounding conditions and among the organic world are expected to happen at all time. Several types of interactions may happen between

a.

an organism & its place of living,

b.

an organism & its neighbor

c.

an organism & its own community,

d.

an organism & other communities,

e.

a group of organisms & an organism and

f.

a community to a community.

Due to these interactions, significant effects are also expected

over an organism or a group of organisms, over living conditions and

also over the environment.

D.

MAJOR SUB-DIVISIONS

In general, ecology is classified into two major divisions:

Animal ecology : This branch deals with the animal population, its changes, their bahaviour, and their relationships with the environment. Plant ecology : This branch deals with the relationships of plants to other plants and their environment.

It is known that all animals mostly depend on plants for both food and shelter.

SYNECOLOGY:

Hence, animal ecology deals with both animal and plant communities.

Due to these, the science of ecology is divided into

a) synecology and

b) autecology, based on the organism and habitats.

This branch deals with the study of groups of organisms or the community.

This is a habitat based study.

A habitat is a place where an organism or species population or a community thrives.

There are two major habitats as 1. terrestrial habitats and 2. aquatic habitats.

Examples:

Aquatic habitats( water related) - Marine, Fresh water, Estuarine life. The branches related are: Marine ecology, Estuarine ecology, Limnology, etc Terrestrial habitats(land based) - life in Forests, Grasslands, Deserts. The branches related are: Forest ecology, Grassland ecology, etc. Synecology:

Synecology is divisible into population ecology and community ecology.

A population emerges when individuals of the same species aggregate themselves to function as a single unit. Much interactions occur when such populations inhabit an area.

A community in-turn represents a group of populations. It denotes the co-habitation of different species in a geographical region. The Synecology includes the study of

1.

population characteristics,

2.

position of an individual in a population and its relationship (intraspecific),

3.

regulation of population,

4.

impact of population on the environment,

5. community characteristics and their interrelationships (interspecific),

6.

successional changes and

7. the impact of communities over an environment.

2. AUTECOLOGY This branch deals with the study of species or the relationship of an organism to one or more environmental

conditions. This is also called as species ecology.

It deals with the nutrition, growth, reproduction, development and life history of individual species in an environment.

Approaches in autecology :

1. Describing the type of habitat where in the organisms of a species live in.

2. Physical factors of the environment (air, temperature, light, water; oxygen, chemicals) and their interaction

with that particular environment and the organism. 3. The influence of various biotic factors (predation, parasitism, competition, exploitation, etc) which have a

bearing on the life and environment. 4. The interaction of organisms with other organisms of different species.

5. Life and seasonal changes of the environment.

6. Pattern of reproduction and dispersal of organisms.

D. OTHER BRANCHES OF ECOLOGY 1. Population Ecology : Study of a population, its growth, competition, means of dispersal etc. 2. Community Ecology : Study of distribution of animals in various environments.

3. Ecosystem Ecology : Relation and interaction of plant and animal communities with their total environment. It deals with the formation of soil, chemical cycles, food and feeding relationship, exchange of energy and productivity.

4. Evolution Ecology : Concerned with the manner in which all ecological structure and functions have evolved.

5. Geographical Ecologv : Deals with the distribution of organisms over the world and the factors and forces brought out this distribution.

6. Palaeoecology : Deals with the organisms and their environment existed in the distant geological past. 7. Applied Ecology : Deals with wild life management, forest conservation, biological control, animal husbandary and pollution control. 8. Oceanography : Study of marine habitat and organisms. 9. Limnology : Study of life in freshwater bodies.

10. Terrestrial Ecology : This is a major field including a. Forest Ecology, b. Cropland Ecology and c. Grassland Ecology.

Ecology is sometimes used as a synonym for the natural environment.

It is the basic natural science essential to deal with the habitat, conservation and management of all natural resources.

As a scientific discipline, ecology does not dictate what is "right" or "wrong".

But after understanding the principles, it is we the humans should decide on how to manage the environment. To manage the environment, knowledge of ecology is essential.

End of Lesson

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