Introduction to the Scope of Ecology

Identify the scope of ecology

Ecology is the study of the interactions of living organisms with their environment. One core goal of ecology is to understand the distribution and abundance of living things in the physical environment. Attainment of this goal requires the integration of scientific disciplines inside and outside of biology, such as biochemistry, physiology, evolution, biodiversity, molecular biology, geology, and climatology. Some ecological research also applies aspects of chemistry and physics, and it frequently uses mathematical models.

Climate change can alter where organisms live, which can sometimes directly affect human health. Watch the PBS video “Feeling the Effects of Climate Change” in which researchers discover a pathogenic organism living far outside of its normal range.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Define the science of ecology
  • Define ecology and the four levels of ecological research
  • Identify common branches of ecology

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • What is Ecology?
  • Levels of Ecological Research
  • Branches of Ecology
  • Self Check: Scope of Ecology