A Very Brief Introduction to Ecology

This is a transcript of an information sheet I have knocking around. No idea where I got it from.

Ecology
from the Greek Oikos meaning ‘home’+ology meaning ‘study of’
Quick definition
the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms in their environment
Ecology as a science
employs the scientific method to establish principles and theories about the living world.
Sources of evididence
field observations and measurement; field manipulations and experiment; laboratory and microcosm experiments; computer simulations and models;historoc data;genetic data;commercial and official data

Levels of organisation

AutoEcology
the ecology of individual species in their environment
Population Ecology
processes determining growth, decline, fluctuation of stability in populations (groups of same species individuals)
Community Ecology
study of groups of organisms living together.
Ecosystem Ecology
study of groups of organisms and the non-biological environment in which they live
Related disciplines
evolutionary biology; conservation biology, restoration ecology; economics

Key Concepts

Individuals Populations Communities & Ecosystems
Niche Growth rate
Carrying capacity
Succession
zonation
Facilitation
Cometition
Density dependence Community assembly
Biodiversity
Mutualism Metapopulation
Predation/herbivory
Disturbance
Species area relationship

Books

Popular science

  • E.O. Wilson The Diversity of Life
  • Paul Colinvaux: Why big fierce animals are rare – a little dated now but a good general accessible intro to ecological principles
  • David Quamman: Song of the Dodo – highly recommended journalistic account of the biology, biologists and travels associated with conservation science
  • Richard Dawkins: The Ancestors Tale

Academic

  • M. Begon etal (1996) Ecology: Individals, Populations and Communities
  • C.J. Krebs (2001) Ecology: the experimental analysis of distribution and abundance
  • ibid (1999) Ecological Methodology
  • W.J Sutherland Ecological Census Techniques: a handbook

Web resources

Tree of life

Conservation Evidence

JNCC UK Biodiversity Action Plan [this links seems to be broken]

Naturenet