What is Marine Ecology?
Marine Ecology is the scientific study of marine-life habitat, populations, and interactions among organisms and the surrounding environment including their abiotic (non-living physical and chemical factors that affect the ability of organisms to survive and reproduce) and biotic factors (living things or the materials that directly or indirectly affect an organism in its environment). Marine ecology is a subset of the study of marine biology and includes observations at the biochemical, cellular, individual, and community levels as well as the study of marine ecosystems and the biosphere. The study of marine ecology also includes the influence of geology, geography, meteorology, pedology, chemistry, and physics on marine environments. The impact of human activity such as medical research, development, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry is also studied under marine ecology. In some ways, marine ecology is more complex than the relatively straightforward study of a particular organism or environment because of the numerous interconnections, symbiotic relationships, and influence of many factors on a particular environment. To understand the difference between marine biology and marine ecology, it may be useful to look at a community of organisms. A marine biologist may focus on behavioral relationships between the organisms in one particular species while someone studying ecology would study how the behavior of one organism influences another. An ecologist would also look at abiotic factors and how they influence that organism. A scientist studying community ecology might study a group of organisms to see how they influence other species and abiotic factors. The major subcategories of ecology are:
Physiological ecology: the study of how biotic and abiotic factors act on the physiological characteristics of an organism and how the organism adapts to the abiotic and biotic environment. Behavioral ecology: a subcategory of ecology that studies which ecological and evolutionary dynamics are responsible for the way in which organisms adapt to their environment. Population ecology: the study of populations of organisms in a particular species and how the populations interact with their environment. Community ecology: the study of how species react to each other in a community. Landscape ecology: the study of how organisms interact with a particular landscape. Ecosystem ecology: the study of how energy and matter flow through ecosystems. Global ecology: the study of how energy and matter interact in the entire web of life on Earth. The study of ecology in general includes all of the subcategories listed above as they apply to marine ecology, animal ecology, plant ecology, insect ecology, arctic ecology, tropical ecology and desert ecology. What is needed to sustain life on Earth?
Earth has been divided by ecologists into four areas: the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. The hydrosphere refers to water on the planet, the lithosphere consists of soil and rocks, the atmosphere is the air, and the biosphere refers to all of the life on Earth. The biosphere can be visualized as a thin surface layer on the Earth from 11,000external link m below sea level to 15,000external link m above sea level, even though there are no permanent residents living in the atmosphere. The Biosphere
The first life on Earth was formed in the photic zone of the hydrosphere when organisms with more than one cell evolved in the deep ocean benthic zones. After the ozone layer formed, which protects land organisms from harmful UV rays, life began to evolve on land. After the continents separated and reformed, biodiversity began to increase as life began to adapt to new environments. Biodiversity can be observed at the genetic level, the species level, the population level, and the ecological level. Abiotic elements like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are present in great quantities in the biosphere....
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