Ecology and environment:
Today, we hear people from different walks of life, using the terms ecology and environment. Politicians, leaders. town planners, students and architects speak of 'environmental issues' and 'ecological concerns'. Of course, these phrases are very common, but are they really understood by the speaker and the listener alike? Often these are interpreted in many different ways. So we need to establish some common understanding of these terms. Ecology is a branch of biology which deals with the relationships betweeii organisms and their 'environment'. Everything that affects an organism from outside, during its life, is collectively known as its Environment.
These environmental influences can be divided into two categories. The living things that affect an organism are called biotic factors, and those that are not alive are called abiotic factors. Let us understand this with the help of an example. Consider a fish in a stream, we can identify many different environmental factors that are important in its life. The temperature of the water is an important abiotic factor but, it may be influenced by the presence of trees, a biotic factor, along the bank of the stream that shade the stream and prevent the sun from heating it. The kind and number of organisms that serve as food for the fish, are important biotic faitors as well.
The type of materials that make the bottom of the stream, and the amout'of oxygen dissolved in the water are two other abiotic factors, which are related to the. speed of flow of water. In brief, the environment of an organism is complex, and its various factors are interrelated.