Ecology is the study of the patterns and processes governing the abundance and distribution of organisms and their relationships to their environment. The environment includes abiotic factors—such as the soils, geology, sunlight, climate, and other physical and chemical factors—as well as biotic factors, such as other organisms within the same or neighboring habitats. The term ecology derives from oekologie, first coined in 1866 by the biologist Ernst Haeckel, joining the Greek oikos, or household, and logos, or study. The field of ecology combines diverse scientific traditions from natural history, experimentation, field study and mathematical modeling to advance our understanding of the processes and patterns maintaining and altering biodiversity. As a positive science, ecology does not make a priori value judgments; nevertheless, it is strongly ...

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