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Branches of Ecology in Biology

In this branches of ecology in biology post we have briefly explained about branches of ecology, habitat and niche, and ecological equivalents.

The term “ecology” (oekologie) is derived from two Greek words oikos (meaning house or dwelling place and logos meaning study) it was first proposed by Reiter (1868). However, the most widely accepted definition was given by Ernest Haeckel (1869).

The study of living organisms, both plants and animals, in their natural habitats or homes, Reiter (1885). Ecology is the study of the reciprocal relationship between living organisms and their environment, Earnest Haeckel (1889).

The interaction of organisms with their environment results in the establishment of grouping of organisms which is called ecological hierarchy or ecological levels of organization. The basic unit of ecological hierarchy is an individual organism.

Branches of Ecology

Branches of ecology is mainly divided into two branches, they are autecology and synecology. 1. Autecology is the branches of ecology of an individual species and is also called species ecology. 2. Synecology is the the branches of ecology of a population or community with one or more species and also called as community ecology.

Many advances and developments in the field ecology resulted in various new dimensions and the branches of ecology. Some of the advanced fields are Molecular ecology, Eco technology, Statistical ecology and Environmental toxicology are the advanced fields branches of ecology.

Habitat and Niche

Habitat: Habitat is a specific physical place or locality occupied by an organism or any species which has a particular combination of abiotic or environmental factors. But the environment of any community is called Biotope.

Niche: An ecological niche refers to an organism’s place in the biotic environment and its functional role in an ecosystem. The term was coined by the naturalist Roswell Hill Johnson but Grinell (1917) was probably first to use this term. The habitat and niche of any organism is called Ecotope.

Ecological equivalents

Taxonomically different species occupying similar habitats (Niches) in different geographical regions are called Ecological equivalents.

Examples; Certain species of epiphytic orchids of Western Ghats of India differ from the epiphytic orchids of South America. But they are epiphytes. Species of the grass lands of Western Ghats of India differ from the grass species of temperate grass lands of Steppe in North America. But they are all ecologically primary producers and fulfilling similar roles in their respective communities.

Further Readings

Reference