What is Ecology?
Ecology is defined as the study of the inter-relationships, between living organisms and their environment.
Ecological factors are factors in the environment that affect living organisms. They are the factors that cause changes in habitats. Ecological factors are classified into two, namely, biotic and abiotic factors.
Biotic factors are all living organisms in an environment. Their living together can produce harmful and beneficial results, such as:
1. Animals feed on plants or on other animals. This is an example of biotic factors related to feeding.
2. Plants compete with themselves for light and water.
3. Animals like insects affect plants, for example, bees, butterflies, etc, pollinate flowers when they feed on them.
4. Termites and worms aerate the soil and therefore make humus.
Abiotic factors are non-living things such as temperature, light, wind, and rainfall, which affect the organisms within an environment.
Abiotic factors can be grouped into three, namely climate factors, physiographic factors, and edaphic factors.
Climate factors include temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity, etc. Edaphic factors are things associated with soil such as soil type, soil moisture content, soil acidity, etc, and physiographic factors involve the structure of the earth’s surface such as a slope, hill, valley, and so on.
Instruments used to Measure Ecological Factors:
1. Temperature: Thermometer.
2. Rainfall: Rain gauge.
3. Light: Light meter.
4. Relative Humidity: Hygrometer.
5. Wind speed: Anemometer.
6. Wind direction: Wind vane.
7. Pressure: Barometer.
8. Water depth: Floated objects.
9. Turbidity: Secchi disk.
Scientists who study habitats are called ecologists.