The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ecology:

Ecology – scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as solar insolation, climate and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat. Also called ecological science.

Essence of ecology

Other criteria

Ecology can also be classified on the basis of:

Subdisciplines of ecology, and subdiscipline classification

Ecology is a broad discipline comprising many subdisciplines. The field of ecology can be subdivided according to several classification schemes:

By methodology used for investigation

By spatial scale of ecological system under study

By level of organisation or scope

Arranged from lowest to highest level of organisation:[1]

By biological classification or taxon under study

By biome under study

By biogeographic realm or climatic area under study

By ecological aspects or phenomena under investigation

Ecology-involved interdisciplinary fields

Other disciplines

Ecology has also inspired (and lent its name to) other non-biological disciplines such as:

Biogeographic regions

Map of six of the world's eight terrestrial realms
  Oceania and Antarctic realms not shown

Terrestrial realms

Biogeographic realm – Broadest biogeographic division of Earth's land surface. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) developed a system of eight biogeographic realms (ecozones):


Ecoregion – Ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion

The World has over 800 terrestrial ecoregions. See Lists of ecoregions by country.

History of ecology

History of ecology

General ecology concepts

See also


  1. ^ Jax, Kurt; Schwarz, Astrid (2011). "The Fundamental Subdivisions of Ecology". Ecology Revisited: 175–179. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-9744-6_14. ISBN 978-90-481-9743-9.