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Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and collections that provide firsthand content, including historical documents, archives, journals, and news articles that examine and analyze ecology.
Examine ecology as a major branch of biological science that involves the scientific study of the relationships among organisms and their environment. Ecologists distinguish between two parts of the environment as a whole: the living or biotic part and the nonliving or abiotic part. The biotic part of the environment includes all organisms, such as animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi. The abiotic part includes all physical features like temperature, humidity, availability of light, as well as chemical components, such as the concentrations of salts, nutrients, and gases. Ecology studies the interactions between and among the biotic and abiotic environments.
Because the discipline of ecology involves all living things and the environments in which they live, it is a broad field that is often narrowed into sub-disciplines, including organismal ecology (study of the structure, function, and evolution of organisms), evolutionary ecology (the study of adaptations that allow organisms to live in specific habitats), population ecology (study of a particular group of organisms living in the same area at the same time), community ecology (study of all the populations living in a given area), and ecosystem ecology (study of all the organisms in an area as well as the community and the abiotic factors that influence that community).
Ecology takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining life on earth and the systems in which all life exists. This approach utilizes many different fields of study, including geology, soil science, geography, meteorology, genetics, chemistry, physics, biology, and many others. The application of ecology is as limitless as the organisms and environments it studies. For example, ecology is often applied to conservation efforts to responsibly manage natural resources, studies to demonstrate the effects of human behavior on the environment, and even urban planning.
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