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The Earth - our planet - is filled with life. In occurs in incredible diversity - from photosynthetically active, unicellular organisms to colossal sperm whales. Life exists on the bottom of the ocean, in boiling hot springs, in the icy cold polar regions, in forests, lakes, grassland, deserts, and many other areas. But not every organism can exist everywhere. Organisms require specific conditions, and they can only exist where these requirements are met. Such correlations between organisms and their environment are the subject investigated by autecology.

But organisms don’t just exist all by themselves in an environment, but they interact in complex ways with other organisms. Organisms that belong to the same species and that live in the same area form a population. And they exert advantageous as well as disadvantageous influences on each other. Furthermore, organisms also form interrelations with organisms of different species. These varied influences which organisms have on each other are investigated and described by the field of synecology.

Whereas other areas of biology focus on molecular details, ecology aims to describe complex systems. So, it’s more about the “bigger picture” than about “minute details”. However, ecology itself is, of course, interconnected with all other areas of biology.