What do you get when you take energy, nutrients and other resources, biomes and their populations, and all the species and their relationships?
You get ecology. Understanding ecology is in part understanding the biology of our planet. And it can easily be argued that this is especially important today. We literally hold the future of our planet in our hands. The lessons in this chapter discuss ecology, and all the related aspects that comprise the ecosystem.
Ecology discusses ecosystems. An ecosystem consists of all the populations and the non-living aspects of the habitat. Whereas nutrients and certain elements are recycled through ecosystems, energy moves in just one direction. Many interactions among species within an ecosystem are centered around the flow of energy. The formation of ecosystems, from new land to current habitats, is usually based on the pioneer species, and these species are able to live in an area due to the abiotic factors of that area. The populations within an ecosystem also determine the stability of the system. Recent surges in the human population have raised many important issues.