What Is The Difference Between Ecology and The Environment?

Ecology and the environment are interrelated areas. However, they are different from each other. This article highlights important information on the differences between ecology and the environment.


EcologyEcology refers to the scientific study of how organisms interact with each other and their surroundings. This involves their distribution, interaction and abundance. This term comes from the Greek word “Oikos” which means a home and “Logos” meaning the study. Ecology is made up of three subdivisions. The first is autecology, dealing with human relation to the surrounding. Second is synecology subdivision which involves studying of ecological groups and relating to the environment. Third subdivision is habitat ecology, this describes the organisms and the environment. This is an interdisciplinary field that plays an important role in making people gain more knowledge on the ecosystems. While environment refers the surrounding, for instance the physical and artificial factors that enable a living organism to live and grow. The environment is of two types; external and internal. The internal environment is in animals with the outer body surface while external environment is the outside environment. This includes the biotic factors such as plant and animal communities and the abiotic factors include: soil, sunlight, water etc. in general, it deals with the impact humans have on the surrounding.

Area of study

Area-of-studyThe ecologist in most cases focus on specific type of species such as birds or plants, the primary concern is how human activities impact the species and ways of conserving the environment. They tend to research on populations interaction, reproduction and how they survive in the ecosystem. Ecologists’ concern is factors such as food or preferences in a specific group, how animals are diverse in an ecosystem, various factors affecting the organisms, etc. While in environmental studies, the scientists do not bother about the interruption of other bodies. The scientists deal with a broader area of research as they incorporate various earth and life sciences. They conduct studies to learn more about the multiple factors affecting the region. For example, an environmental scientist can research on the effects of a dry season on the plant species, the impact of humans in an ecosystem, the demand for material and human consumption among others.

Directives undertaken

Ecology answers questions on “why questions” that is theoretical whereas the environmental science deals with “how questions” more on the practical side. Ecology talks of various organisms interacting and how the human beings comprehend, while in environmental science at times might not take into consideration the interaction when dealing with the application of conservation measures.