- Published: 03 February 2010
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Kathy Foulks, age 12 of Peoria, Illinois, or her question;
What is ecology?
Ecology is a fairly new science in the scholarly world, Yet actually its subject matter is as old as the hills. It is the fascinating give and take of nature which makes our world possible. The word itself means the study of habitat, or living conditions. It concerns the many factors involved in the homes and lives of plants and animals,
For instance, the ecologist is not satisfied to learn that the kangaroo lives in Australia. He wants to know why, and also how, he lives there. He wants to know how his living conditions have changed him, what he was like in the past. He wants to know how well the animal is built for his type of life, how the climate effects him.
He also wants to know what an animal eats and where he finds his food supply. This leads him to plants and other animals also living in the neighborhood. He seGs that frogs live in a damp neighborhood where there are plenty of insects to eat and that snakes and small mammals live in the same neighborhood to feed on frogs and keep them from multiplying too fast.
There are several specialized branches of this fascinating study, But all point up the inter‑relationships between living things and their environment. For ecology is the most fascinating study of all, the give‑and‑take which keeps the balance of nature.