Open main menu

Wikipedia β

 Earth flag PD.jpg Portal  Nuvola apps bookcase.svg Topics and categories  People icon.svg WikiProject
Unique plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3,700 metre) elevation)
Earth Day Flag.png

Ecology, also referred to as ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as solar insolation, climate and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat. The term Ökologie was coined in 1866 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel; the word is derived from the Greek οικος (oikos, "household") and λόγος (logos, "study"); therefore "ecology" means the "study of the household (of nature)".

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

(Pictured left: Unique plants in the Ruwenzori Mountains, SW Uganda, Bujuku Valley, at about 12,139 feet (3,700 metre) elevation)

Selected article

Animated global map of monthly long term mean surface air temperature (Mollweide projection)
Pictured left: Animated global map of monthly long term mean surface air temperature (Mollweide projection)

Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods. A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: Atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, land surface, and biosphere.

The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. Climates can be classified according to the average and the typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and precipitation. The most commonly used classification scheme was originally developed by Wladimir Köppen. The Thornthwaite system, in use since 1948, incorporates evapotranspiration along with temperature and precipitation information and is used in studying animal species diversity and potential effects of climate changes. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems focus on the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region.

There are several ways to classify climates into similar regimes. Modern climate classification methods can be broadly divided into genetic methods, which focus on the causes of climate, and empiric methods, which focus on the effects of climate. Examples of genetic classification include methods based on the relative frequency of different air mass types or locations within synoptic weather disturbances. Examples of empiric classifications include climate zones defined by plant hardiness, evapotranspiration, or more generally the Köppen climate classification which was originally designed to identify the climates associated with certain biomes. A common shortcoming of these classification schemes is that they produce distinct boundaries between the zones they define, rather than the gradual transition of climate properties more common in nature.

Selected picture

Bee swarm on fallen tree02.jpg
Credit: User:Fir0002

A bee swarm of Apis mellifera ligustica (the Italian bee), a sub-species of the western honey bee (Apis mellifera), on a fallen log

Selected biography

Pierre Dansereau, CC GOQ FRSC (born 1911) is a Canadian ecologist known as one of the "fathers of ecology".

Born in Outremont, Quebec (now part of Montreal), he received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (B.Sc.A.) in 1936 and a PH.d. in Science in 1939 from the University of Geneva. From 1939 until 1942 he worked at the Montreal Botanical Garden. From 1943 until 1950 he taught at the Université de Montréal. From 1950 until 1955 he worked at the University of Michigan Botanical Gardens. From 1955 until 1961 he worked in the Faculty of Science and as the director of the Botanical Institute at the Université de Montréal. In 1961 he returned to the United States as the assistant director of the New York Botanical Garden and as a professor of botany and geography at the Columbia University. From 1972 until 1976 he was the Director of the Research Centre for Sciences and the Environment at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). In 1976 he was made a Professor Emeritus at UQAM.

He is the subject of a 2001 documentary An Ecology of Hope by his cousin, Quebec filmmaker Fernand Dansereau.

Did you know...

White Tank Mountains Regional Park - Two Ocotillos - 60134.JPG
...desert ecology is the sum of the interactions between both biotic and abiotic processes in arid regions, and it includes the interactions of plant, animal, and bacterial populations in a desert habitat, ecosystem, and community? Some of the abiotic factors also include latitude and longitude, soil, and climate. Each of these factors have caused adaptations to the particular environment of the region.
(Pictured left: Two Ocotillo plants, in White Tank Mountains Regional Park)
Other "Did you know" facts...

Ecology news

From the Wikinews Environment portal
Read and edit Wikinews

Additional News Highlights

Selected quote

There are some who frankly and boldly advocate the eradication of the last remnants of wilderness and the complete subjugation of nature to the requirements of—not man—but industry. This is a courageous view, admirable in its simplicity and power, and with the weight of all modern history behind it. It is also quite insane. I cannot attempt to deal with it here.
— Edward Abbey

Selected publication

Ibis, subtitled the International Journal of Avian Science, is the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the British Ornithologists' Union. Topics covered include ecology, conservation, behaviour, palaeontology, and taxonomy of birds. It's available for free on the internet for institutions in the developing world through the OARE scheme (Online Access to Research in the Environment).

More selected publications...

Related WikiProjects

Things you can do

This list is transcluded from the tasks list page, to edit, click here

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
 – When a task is completed, please remove it from the list.

Related portals

Related articles

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

Travel guides




Web resources