by: Tea Polgar
Everyone has witnessed what ecology is about without even knowing: this topic appears more complicated, and less valued, than it actually is and should be. Think about the way the landscape shift from mountains to the sea, how it adapts to new conditions, how thousands different species life together coexisting in a natural order of things. That’s what ecology is about: the way organisms interact with their habitat and the other beings living in it. But that’s not all of it.
What is it?
Let’s start with a basic scientific definition: ecology is a branch of biology, the study of living organism, which focuses on how creatures interact and their living enviroment. They way these organisms are studied includes many fields, like the ecosystem, the biosphere, the biodiversity and how they interact with each other.
Ecology founds itself on two principles: abiotic and biotic. Abiotic are non-living factors in the enviroment that influence the ecosystem, such like water availability, the components of the ground, wind, temperature, ecc… Biotic factors on the other hand, are the components of the ecosystem, like plants and other animals.
Why ecology is so important?
This science focus on the interactions between organisms and their habitat: the human species is one of those species that are of interest and taken into consideration by the discipline. Usually, organisms only live in the ecosystem in which they are placed, but humans are different: they can modify their habitat in a lot of ways. As it’s known, humanity has caused the greenhouse effect and climate change: that’s an example of how it changed and is changing the ecosystem.
Check out how humans have already affected the planet:
That’s why ecology has a fundamental role into the matter of the survival of the human race: it allows to understand how certain factors are going to change an ecosystem and provides methods to avoid them, if necessary.
The transformation of ecosystems has let to many environmental problem before; an example between many others is the poisoning of Minamata Bay. The sea near the Japanese city had been polluted with waste by a Japanese corporation for years; this led to the contamination of the sea life of the zone, a pillar of the eating habits of the population of the city. Due to the high levels of mercury found into the fishes, many became ill. The sickness spread out through entire population and became so serious that it got named ‘Chisso-Minamata Disease’, appellative taken from the name of the company that caused the death of thousands of people.
Check out the story here
Through these studies we can better understand how certain species in an enviroment integrate, we can prevent extinction and use analyse what we can afford to do or not in that specific ecosystem.
The understanding of the ecosystem and human being are concatenated: without a world we wouldn’t be here too.