Subject: Environmental Studies
Language: English (U.S.)
Pages: 1
What is ecology? Describe the difference between a population, a community, and an ecosystem. How does energy move through a food web from producers, to consumers, to decomposers?


According to Cunningham and Cunningham (2011), ecology can be described as the identification and analysis of how organisms, large and small, interact with their respective environments. The discipline involves studying the interactions between organisms and each other, with other organisms and the non-living components of the environment in which they thrive in. Ecology is usually divided into four categories that include ecosystems ecology, community ecology, physiological ecology, and population ecology.

Within the realms of ecology, scientists usually organize life into different categories based on complexity and function. A population encompasses all the individuals of a certain species in a given place at a given time. On the other hand, a community is a number of populations that can be found within a certain region at a certain point in time. An ecosystem refers to the non-living components of the environment and the biological community in a certain region at a certain time.

The consumers in the food web will consume the producers. This consumption leads to the transfer of energy from the producers to the consumers. When the consumers die, they decompose and their nutrients are recycled. It should be noted that energy is lost in each successive trophic level.



Cunningham, W.P., & Cunningham, M.A. (2011). Principles of environmental science inquiry an applications (6th Ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.