The scientific discipline of ecology encompasses areas from global processes (above), to the study of marine and terrestrial habitats (middle) to interspecific interactions such as predation and pollination (below).
Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, "house"; -λογία, "study of") is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems. Ecosystems are hierarchical systems that are organized into a graded series of regularly interacting and semi-independent parts (e.g., species) that aggregate into higher orders of complex integrated wholes (e.g., communities). The biological organization of life self-organizes into layers of emergent whole systems that function according to nonreducible properties. This means that higher order patterns of a whole functional system, such as an ecosystem, cannot be predicted or understood by a simple summation of the parts. "New properties emerge because the components interact, not because the basic nature of the components is changed.":8
Ecosystems create biophysical feedback mechanisms between living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of the planet that regulates and sustains systems as large as continental climates and global biogeochemical cycles. Ecosystems provide goods and services that sustain human societies and general well-being. Ecosystems are sustained by biodiversity within them. Biodiversity is the full-scale of life and its processes, including genes, species and ecosystems forming lineages that integrate into a complex and regenerative spatial arrangement of types, forms, and interactions.
Ecology is a sub-discipline of biology, the study of life. The word "ecology" ("Ökologie") was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919). Ancient... [continues]
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