Skip to main content.
Enviropaedia Sponsors and Supporters


Author: David Hoare - Ecologist and environmental consultant

( Article Type: Opinion )

Ecology is the scientific study of the interaction of organisms with one another and with their living and non-living environment (e.g. climate, temperature, light, water, nutrients). The emphasis may be on whole organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems or biomes, and is often multi-disciplinary and forms a continuum with many other areas of biology, including genetics, evolution, biogeography, taxonomy, physiology and behaviour. Ecology is, to a large extent, the study of the structure and function of nature. It deals with all levels in the hierarchy of biological organisation and is challenging, largely because of the intricate web of interactions that lie at the heart of ecological phenomena. This hierarchy of organisation contains a number of structural levels as follows: atom, molecule, cell, tissue, organ, organism, population, community, ecosystem, biome. Ecologists also study the interaction between humankind, living organisms and the environment (habitat). There is a close link between ecology and the vast array of current environmental concerns, some of which threaten our very ability to survive. An ecologist needs to have appropriate and comprehensive training, as well as experience in biological studies and the analysis of the responses of organisms to the environment and to each other. An ecologist is a scientist and, as such, is concerned with a connected body of truths or with observed facts and descriptions systematically classified and more or less united under general laws, which include reliable methods for the discovery of new truths through hypothesis development and experimentation.