Ecology came from the words eco, which means ‘house’ and logy, which means, ‘study of’. Ecology is defined as a scientific study of living organisms and their relation with each other and their environment. A German scientist named Ernst Haeckel coined the word ecology. Haeckel is not just a scientist. Aside from being a zoologist, he is also known as an artist, writer and became a professor of comparative anatomy.
Ecology was often mistaken to be synonymous with the environment. In fact, it was a study focusing more on biological disciplines. In the late 19th century, ecology branched out of from the natural sciences. It was actually a sub-discipline of biology, which is the study of life.
As mentioned earlier, the environment is not the same as ecology. However, when it comes to environmental problems such as pollution it becomes a part of the science of ecology. It is for the reason that ecology involves scientific investigation on the natural world. This scientific investigation is done from many viewpoints by using various scientific techniques.
Just like any other branches of science, ecology depends a great deal on both laboratory and field experiments. These experiments are essential for the ecologists to prove ecological theories. Moreover, intensive testing and experiments helps them to arrive at feasible decisions, which concerns natural resources management.
The human species need a better understanding of ecology for the purpose of survival. Ecological principles are essential for humans to survive as more environmental problems are being experienced. Population is one big problem concerning ecology. As the population continues to grow globally, the earth’s supply of natural resources becomes scarce.
The fast depletion of earth’s natural supply is affected by the social, political and economic factors. These factors influence the allocation of resources needed by a particular human population. To be able to manage environmental concerns, ecological principles must be understood and applied by concerned sectors in both global and regional settings.
As a scientific study, ecology is part of the cause to human’s understanding of evolution and that includes their own evolution as species. As result of ecological interactions operating within a population, ecosystem, biomes, community and biosphere levels, changes in evolution take place. Ecology is also considered as a broad scientific study.
However, no matter how broad the subject of ecology is, there are methods to cover all its aspects. Scientific study of ecology may take focus on different levels. The study may focus on single species living in a specific environment. On other levels, ecology may focus on the study of several species interacting with each other on a specific environment. On a larger scale, the study may focus on interaction of species on global patterns within the biosphere.
To sum it all up, ecology seeks to explain life processes and how living organisms adapts to changes in their environment. It also seeks to understand distribution and abundance of organisms in an environment. Moreover, it also seeks to explain development and depletion of the ecosystems. Scientific discipline of ecology provides humans conceptual framework for comprehending interactions of organisms with each other and their environment. Ecology helps create answers to the problems living organisms encounter through the many environmental changes.