Ecology is the scientific study of relationships between organisms and their environment, especially the pattern of interactions between plants and animals and their unique contributions to a particular habitat.
The term was coined in 1866 by the German Darwinian biologist Ernst Haeckel, and was derived from the Greek words οίκος oikos meaning "house" and λόγος logos meaning "word" or "study." Therefore, "ecology" basically means the "study of the household of Earth".
Ecologists investigate the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environments, examining the effects of population size, pollutants, rainfall, temperature, and altitude. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, ecologists may collect, study, and report data on the quality of air, food, soil, and water.
Ecological research is typically concerned with the histories, distributions, and behaviors of individual species, as well as the structure and function of natural systems at the level of populations, communities, and ecosystems.
The ecological environment includes:
- Abiotic environment -- non-living things like climate and geology.
- Biotic environment -- living things like plants and animals.
- Main Article: Biological scientist
- Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Beck, Erwin; Mçller-Hohenstein, Klaus (2005). Plant Ecology. Berlin/New York. p. 1. ISBN 3-540-20833-X.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09: Biological Scientists by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.