Difference Between Geology and Ecology

Key Difference: Geology is the scientific study of solid Earth, though it can also refer to any other celestial body, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they evolve. It includes studying both the solid and liquid forms that exist on the planet. The composition of the planet, along with its crust and physical components are a part of geology. Ecology is the study of living organisms and their relationship with other organisms and their habitat. It seeks to answer questions such as the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems.

Geology and Ecology are both types of studies that are related to a planet, though they differ in fields. Geology is the study of the earth’s surface, while Ecology is the study of organisms that inhabit the earth. It can be said that geology is the study of rocks, while ecology is the study of living organisms. Let’s look at both the terms in detail.

Geology is the scientific study of solid Earth, though it can also refer to any other celestial body, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they evolve. It includes studying both the solid and liquid forms that exist on the planet. The composition of the planet, along with its crust and physical components are a part of geology. Geologists, people who study the geology of the Earth, are interested in understand the physical properties of the earth, such as minerals that make up the earth, and how the Earth was formed.

Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, and also helps understand how old the Earth actually is. It provides evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates. Geology is also important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and for evaluating water resources, understanding and predicting natural hazards, helping fix environmental problems, and for understand climate change. Geology is closely related to geotechnical engineering.

Geology dates back to Ancient Greece during 372-287 BCE, when Theophrastus wrote regarding Peri Lithon (On Stones). During the Roman period, Pliny the Elder wrote detailed works regarding minerals and their uses and also correctly noted the origin of amber. As the mysteries of the Earth and its formation continued, geology has been on the constant rise in order to solve these mysteries. The most significant discovery of modern geology is the theory of tectonic plates in the 1960s. The theory helped revolutionized the Earth sciences. Today, the Earth is known to be approximately 4.5 billion years old.

On the other hand, Ecology is the study of living organisms and their relationship with other organisms and their habitat. Ecologists, people who study the ecology and the ecosystems, are interested in understanding the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems. Ecology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology. The word "ecology" was coined by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel in1866. Ecosystems are composed of dynamically interacting parts including organisms, the communities they make up, and the non-living components of their environment.

Ecology gives the insight to all the organisms that inhabit the planet, and how they act and react to the nature around them, including other organisms. Ecology is divided into four categories; physiological ecology, population ecology, community ecology, and ecosystems ecology. Physiological ecology refers to affect of environmental conditions on a specific species. Population ecology deals with the population of the different organisms and the environmental factors that affect their population. Community ecology is concerned with particular number of species found in an area and their interactions with each other, while ecosystems ecology deals with the structure and function of entire population of biotic components, abiotic components, and their interactions.

Ecology dates back to ancient Greek philosophers such as Hippocrates and Aristotle that are credited with laying down the foundation of early ecology. Through the years ecologists are trying to explain the life processes and adaptations of living things, distribution and abundance of organisms, the movement of materials and energy through living communities, and the development of ecosystems. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is said to revolutionize modern ecology, which introduced concepts of adaption and natural evolution.

Image Courtesy: ndsu.nodak.edu, geopolicraticus.files.wordpress.com

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