Hierarchical Levels of Ecology

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Explanation of different levels of ecology with clear examples

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Levels of Ecology

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    1. Individual

    • It is the first hierarchical level in ecology. It is here that for the first time we have a full-fledged specie or organism.
    • Example: A dog, a cat, a cow are examples of individual species.

  • 2

    2. Population

    • It is the second hierarchical level of ecology. As the ecological systems grow we evolve from an individual specie to more number of that individual species. It is many organisms of that same species that occupy a given geographical area.
    • Example: a group of dogs or a group of cats are examples of Population.

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    3. Community

    • A community is a group of populations of two or more different species occupying the same geographical area at the same time, also known as a biocoenosis.
    • It is, in other words, a population of two or more different species that live together in a particular geographical area.

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    4. Ecosystem

    • Ecosystem is all the living things (biotic factors) interacting with each other and with the other non-living things (abiotic factors) in a given physical environment. So there is network of interactions between organisms themselves and with their physical environment.
    • An ecosystem is a more complex hierarchical level than the previous levels.
    • It can be categorised into its abiotic constituents, like minerals, climate, soil, water, sunlight, etc. and its biotic constituents, consisting of all its living members.
    • These two constituents are linked together through two major forces: the flow of energy through the ecosystem, and the cycling of nutrients within the ecosystem which are later explained in articles of Flow of Energy and Biogeochemical Cycling.

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    5. Biome

    • Biomes are large areas on Earth with similar conditions, such as similar climates and similar living organisms.
    • There are two main categories of biomes
      1. terrestrial biomes
      2. aquatic biomes.
    • Terrestrial biomes are usually defined by the type of vegetation that is present there. The major climatic factors contributing to the vegetation types in these biomes are temperature and precipitation.
    • Aquatic biomes are defined by the type of water they contain like saline water, brackish water or fresh water.
    • A biome is a specific geographic area notable for the species living there. A biome can be made up of many ecosystems. For example, an aquatic biome can contain ecosystems such as coral reefs and kelp forests.

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    6. Biodiversity

    • This particular hierarchical level of ecology engulfs all the complex organisms and factors existing in the environment.
    • It is the layer of Earth where all life forms exist.
    • Biosphere includes all other levels of ecology inside it.