What is Ecology?

Ecology is the scientific study of interactions among organisms and their environment, such as the interactions organisms have with each other and with their abiotic environment. Topics of interests to ecologist include the diversity, distribution, amount (biomass), number (population) of organisms, as well as competition and other forms of interactions between them within and among ecosystems. 

Ecological research is interested in human impacts on the environment in general and on specific habitats or organisms. Ecological research helps us quantify biomass loss, extinction, the economic contribution of biological processes such as bee pollination and so forth. 

There are many practical applications of ecology in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology). 

As a part of ecological research, researchers measure biotic and abiotic variables. Biotic factors are factors resulting from the activities of a living thing or any living component in an environment, such as the actions of an organism affecting the life of other organisms. For instance, in a blue jay's environment, the biotic factors are the organisms that consist of its prey, such as insects and lizards, and it predators, such as hawks. Abiotic factors are non-living chemicals or physical factors in the environment such as soil, pH, humidity, temperature, and precipitation.