What is Synecology and Examples - SUMMARY!

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Ecology is a branch of biology that studies the connections and relationships that are created between different living beings and of these with their environment. Ecology is also divided into smaller branches of study, among them are autoecology, demoecology and synecology. While the first studies the adaptations that a species develops to inhabit an ecosystem, the second studies the size, structure and dynamics of a population and the third, also called community ecology, studies the composition and structure of the different species, thus as their relationships between them and the environment.

This Green Ecologist article will focus on the concept of synecology. So, if you are looking to learn about what is synecology and examples of this, continue reading because its types and applications will also be mentioned.

What is synecology

The definition of synecology is a bit complex, since this science, which is part of the branches of ecology, studies the composition and structure of the different communities of an ecosystem, their variations over time, the relationships that occur between the different species that belong to a community or biocenosis and of these with the ecosystems or biotope.

To better understand what synecology is and what it studies, one must know well some aspects such as abiotic factors (temperature, water, light …) and biotic (living beings). We advise you to read these other Green Ecologist articles about:

  • Biotic factors: what are they, characteristics, classification and examples.
  • Abiotic factors: what are they, characteristics and examples.
  • Difference between biotic and abiotic.

Types of synecology

Synecology has two approaches: on the one hand, there is descriptive synecology and, on the other hand, there is functional synecology. However, there is another that can be used as support, called quantitative synecology. Each of the following will be described in more detail below. types of synecology:

Descriptive synecology

It is used from a static point of view and describes the groups of organisms existing in a certain ecosystem. From descriptive synecology data are obtained on the structure of the community, establishing the density, frequency, constancy, abundance and spatial distribution of the species.

Thanks to descriptive synecology, it is possible to know the distribution of a community and how abundant it is, allowing to know if a species is in danger, thus being able to design and develop species conservation programs.

Functional synecology

It is used from a more dynamic point of view and considers two aspects. On the one hand, it studies the exchanges of matter and energy between all the components that inhabit an ecosystem. On the other hand, it can describe the evolution of two groups and evaluate the factors that make them appear in a certain territory.

Food webs are essential to understand the complex relationships of matter and energy exchange that are established between different species.

Quantitative synecology

As mentioned above, this serves to support the other two, since thanks to it it is possible to process all the data obtained on the density of organisms, amount of matter and energy transferred and frequency, among others.

Taking into account the types of this branch of ecology, there are different applications of synecology, as they are:

  • The ecological succession: which is the sequence of changes that species communities undergo over time), which would be the basis for carrying out ecosystem restoration programs. Here you can learn about Ecological Succession: definition, stages and examples.
  • The epidemiology: that tries to know the dynamics of a parasite (such as a bacterium or a virus) and the host or host (such as the human being). For example, currently, with the pandemic present by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, synecology serves to understand how the virus evolves.

Examples of synecology

Here are two examples of synecology; one on the study of food chains and another on the study of biomes:

The study of the food chain

Within the examples of synecology in animals we can talk about the food or trophic chains. A food chain is a linear sequence of organisms that, ultimately, depend on each other for their food and each occupies a position in it called "trophic level". For example, there are producer organisms, primary consumers, secondary consumers, tertiary consumers, quaternary consumers, and decomposers. Food chains are ideal to understand and study the exchanges of matter and energy that occur between species and the environment. For example, the producers absorb the energy from the sun, part of this energy returns to the environment and another goes to the primary consumers, the same happens when the energy passes from the primary consumer to the secondary and from the secondary to the tertiary; and it also goes on to the rest of the trophic levels, up to the decomposers, to start over.

We encourage you to learn more about all these concepts by reading these other Green Ecologist articles:

  • Producer organizations: what they are and examples.
  • Primary consumers: what they are and examples.
  • Secondary consumers: what they are and examples.
  • Tertiary consumers: what they are and examples.
  • Quaternary consumers: what they are and examples.
  • What are decomposing living beings.

The study of biomes

A biome refers to each ecological unit that belongs to a geographical area and is characterized by climatic and geological factors that will define the type of vegetation and fauna found in the territory it occupies. Therefore, the study of them allows know the species that predominate in its limits and distribution patterns based on their environmental affinities. Here we tell you more about what biomes are, their types and examples.

Now that you know this branch of ecology better, we recommend you learn more by discovering the Difference between autoecology and synecology with examples.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is synecology and examples, we recommend that you enter our category of Other ecology.

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