Why It Matters: Ecology of Living Things

Why define the scope and components of ecology?

An artist's rendering of the earth. All landmasses are green.You’ve probably heard the word ecology before, but how easily do you think you could define the term? Put simply, ecology is the study of the way living things interact with each other and with the nonliving influences around them. By studying ecology, you’re improving your knowledge of the ways the world works, and the ways that it sustains life.

Like all sciences, ecology has different branches that different individuals focus on. Imagine that you’ve decided to become an ecologist, but you can’t decide what facet of ecology you want to focus on. Perhaps you are interested in learning about the natural world and how living things interact with each other as they compete for resources.

It’s also important for other professionals to understand ecology: perhaps you’re a future physician seeking to understand the connection between human health and ecology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the scope of ecology
  • Distinguish between abiotic and biotic components of the environment
  • Identify different biomes of our world
  • Discuss the scope and study of population ecology
  • Discuss the scope and study of community ecology