Field guide training: Ecology – Part 1

Being able to understand and interpret the interactions between single species and biocenoses within an ecosystem is an essential skill of a nature guide. Learn more about it in the following blog post.

Rangerkurs: Blick auf die Wildnis Afrikas

As a nature guide, it is essential to understand and interpret the interactions and interrelationships between individual species and biocoenoses within an ecosystem. Furthermore, it is important to know external factors such as climate, soil, water content and nutrients, so-called "abiotic factors", and their influence on nature.

The term ‘ecology’ goes back to the German natural scientist Ernst Haeckel. It is derived from the Greek word οἶκος which means house or household. In general, it describes the study of interactions and interactions between living organisms and the abiotic factors surrounding them (climate, soil, nutrients, etc.). Haeckel also speaks of the teaching of the relationship between living beings and their organic and inorganic environment.

A central component of ecology are the different forms of organisation of life, which can be subdivided as follows:

  • Individual
  • Population
  • Biocoenosis
  • Ecosystem
  • Biome
  • Biosphere
Rangerausbildung: Ein Elefant in der Savanne Afrikas
Naturguide: Eine Giraffe mit Rotschnabel-Madenhackern auf den Kopf
Field-Guide-Ausbildung: Eine Herde von Impalas an einer Wasserstelle

The individual represents the smallest organisational level of life. A group of individuals of the same species is referred to as a population. Populations of different species can interact in the form of a biocoenosis. An ecosystem is the organisation of several biocoenoses within a defined, relatively small area that is subject to constant interaction with the abiotic environment.

The term ‘biome’ is usually used to describe the predominant ecosystem of an extensive area of the earth's surface. Thus biomes are concrete large habitats with the potentially occurring plants and animals as well as all inanimate factors. The highest form of organisation is the biosphere, under which the totality of all spaces on earth in which life occurs is summarised.
All living beings on earth can be classified into these ecological forms of organisation, they form the basic framework for ecology.

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