Ecology consists of the scientific study of the interactions between living beings and the environment in which they inhabit and also between them. Ecology is also interrelated with other sciences such as Earth sciences, geography and biology and allows us to know the way the environment works and how humans and other living beings depend on it.
Within ecology, there are different branches of study. In this Green Ecologist article, we explain what are the branches of ecology and what studies each one.
Given its scope of study, ecology can study living organisms, compare them with each other, or relate them to the components of their habitat. One of the major interests of ecology is the study of the variation, distribution and abundance of certain organisms and their relationships of collaboration or competition between them or between ecosystems. Thus, ecology is important to understand the evolution and life of our planet, more than the environment itself. The development of ecology also affects the conservation and well-being of the human being as a species.
Ecology can be studied at various levels, ranging from the individual base of each organism, to the study of ecosystems or the biosphere, passing through the population and community levels. Thus arise the different branches of ecology.
Next, we discuss each of the different branches of ecology and what each of them studies:
Hierarchical ecology is responsible for studying the organization of biological beings. Hierarchical ecology analyzes the different orders in which living things are classified, from atoms to cells, their tissues, organs, organisms, populations, ecosystems and, finally, the biosphere.
He studies organisms individually and also compares them with other living things to observe similarities and differences between them. In addition, it analyzes the vital traits of the species, reproductive systems, metabolic processes and other systems.
This type of ecology is in charge, for example, of determining how long a turtle lives, what its way of life is like or when it is and how long its reproductive cycle lasts.
This branch deals with studying the population of a species, its life cycle, its behavior and its relationships with other species. Population ecology analyzes the behavior of several species that inhabit the same habitat.
This study is carried out taking into account variables such as births, emigration, immigration and deaths. For example, this branch is the one that deals with the study of the behavior of a species of birds and with analyzing their travels at different times of the year.
Community ecology studies a group of species and their interactions within the same environment. For example, community ecology is the branch in charge of studying predator-prey dynamics and competition dynamics within an ecosystem. In this field enter, for example, food webs or trophic relationships.
Ecosystem ecology is responsible for studying the interactions between species and the ecosystem in which they live, as well as biotopes, among other related aspects. This is the branch in charge of measuring the fluxes of elements existing in nature such as phosphorus, magnesium or iron. For example, a plant that produces organic matter needs a decomposing organism, which can be a fungus or a bacterium.
Get closer to this issue with this other Green Ecologist article on What is an ecosystem.
This branch of ecology studies the behavior of organisms within their habitat. For example, this branch studies behavioral characteristics such as hunting, camouflage, resting, if a species climbs or if it escapes from predators.
This branch of ecology uses advances in the fields of genetics or molecular biology to study how it relates to the environment.
This branch of ecology studies the geographical distribution of species and how they change over time, that is, their evolution throughout their existence.
To finish and expand more information on the world of ecology, we indicate some of the names of famous ecologists that should be known:
If you want to read more articles similar to What are the branches of ecology and what does each study, we recommend that you enter our category of Other ecology.