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Autecology Definition

This is a type of approach technique that is followed in the field of ecology. Ecology is the study of the interactions and the interrelations that are present between the organism and the environment they are present in. Autecology helps us to explain the distribution of species. It also helps us to understand the abundance of the species and this is done by studying the interactions of individuals with their respective environment. This field of autecology differs from that of community ecology and population ecology. It helps in recognizing the adaptations that are species-specific of the individual plants, animals and other organisms. Autecology meaning is that it helps us to relate the species-specific requirements and the environmental tolerances of the organism to the respective environment it is living in. This theory makes a strong ground even in the study of evolution

Autecology Meaning

The Germans were the first scientists in the world to formulate this theory. It was formulated in the late 19th century. This theory in the 20th century exists as a descriptive science and rather than a supporting theory. It evolved very much. There were problems while deriving the theoretical structure for this theory. The problem was that the species are unique in life history and behavior and this makes it difficult to draw broad conclusions. Studying about the abundance of species is done by studying biodiversity or which is known as species diversity. There are various terrestrial biomes where this species diversity can be studied and explanations can be drawn. The biomes are:

  • Tundra

  • Taiga or the coniferous forest

  • Temperate forest

  • Temperate grassland

  • Tropical savanna grassland

  • Desert

  • Tropical rainforest

After understanding the autecology definition and autecology meaning, we will now study biodiversity and its types.


The components of species diversity are divided by biodiversity. This term was given by Edward Wilson. It describes the combined diversity in the least levels of the biological right from macromolecules to within the cells, genes, species, ecosystems, and biomes. It's taken many years of evolution to accumulate this diversity in nature, but we could lose all that wealth in but two centuries if this rate of species losses continues. The conservation of biodiversity has now become a very important aspect. People around the world are understanding the need to protect the diversity of organisms present around the world.  It is responsible for enhancing species diversity, species richness and relative abundance. 

It is of Three Types:

  • Genetic Diversity: Within a species, genetic diversity occurs within the differences of alleles, entire genes, and chromosomal structures. The populations can adapt to their genetic diversity. It leads to variation in potency and concentration of the active chemical which is reserpine being present in medicinal plant Rauwolfia vomitoria that grow in several Himalayan ranges. The formation of the ecosystem has a very important role in the speciation process. Many different strains of rice and mango varieties are found in India. 

  • Ecological Diversity: It is also referred to as community diversity. It is a spread of ecosystems that indicate the range within the number of niches, trophic levels, food webs, nutrient cycles, and ecological processes sustaining energy flow. For instance, ecosystem diversity is very high in India. We have plenty of ecosystems such as deserts, rainforests and coral reefs. It is quite low in small countries like Scandinavian countries like Norway.

  • Species Diversity: Species diversity may be a product of species richness and species evenness. So species diversity, species richness and relative abundance are all responsible for forming the species diversity. The species that are present in a unit area and it contributes to the equitability of species. Others where one or more species have more individuals than others show dominance and unevenness. Maximum toxic diversity occurs where species of taxonomically different groups occur in almost equal abundance. 

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Recognition Concept

This theory makes the species the most important concept of biological organization. This theory relates to reproduction. The sexual species share unique adaptations. The individuals across all the populations share species-specific characteristics. 

Environmental Matching

After understanding the autecology definition, now we can understand environmental matching. In this concept, the individuals that are present together or the species that are present together in the same habitat tends to have the same dietary and habitat requirements. They also have some range of environmental conditions that they can tolerate. The individuals have almost the same kind of adaptations to their environment. Sometimes, the conditions can be too harsh to adapt so in these cases the organisms start migrating to other places so that they can handle environmental conditions and then they migrate back to their habitat when the conditions become favourable. 

Replacement Level Production

This states that the populations will reproduce at replacement levels only when there is a condition of extreme stress. The high number of individuals ensures a better survival of their species in the chances of extreme harsh environmental conditions. Sometimes when the number of predators increases then also it can result in a lowering of the population levels. 

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FAQs on Autecology

1. What do You Understand by Ecological Succession?

Answer: The biotic community is always dynamic and is seldom static. The composition of the biotic community keeps on changing with time. This is mainly due to the interaction between the biotic and biotic factors. The change that happens is orderly and sequential. It is parallel to the physical environment. These changes are responsible for leading changes in the numbers of species in the near-equilibrium and it is called a climax community. The types of succession communities are: 

  • Pioneer community

  • Climax community

  • Transitional or seral community

2. What are the Components of an Ecosystem?

Answer: The ecosystem is made up of two components. They are biotic and abiotic factors.

Biotic Factors: Plants, animals and also microorganisms are responsible for making the biotic factors. Herbaceous and woody plants also help in making the biotic factors. The biotic factors include producers and consumers. There is a role of biotic components in making the species composition. There are three main groups of biotic factors and are Producers, Consumers and Decomposers. 

Abiotic Factors: The abiotic factors are Climatic factors, Edaphic factors and topographic factors. These are the nonliving factors or the physical environmental factors that are present in an ecosystem and they help in making the abiotic factors. Temperature, water, light, wind make up the abiotic factors.