Some of the most important Specialized Branches of Ecology are as follows:
Early ecologists have recognized two major subdivisions of ecology in particular reference to animals or to plants, hence animal ecology and plant ecology.
But when it was found that in the ecosystems plants and animals are very closely associated and interrelated, then, both of these major ecological subdivisions became vague. However, when animals and plants are given equal emphasis, the term bioecology is used.
Further, ecology is often broadly divided into autecology and synecology. Autecology deals with the ecological study of one species of organism. Thus, an autecologist may study the life history, population dynamics, behaviour, home range and so on, of a single species, such as the Mexican free-tailed bat, Indian bull frog, or maize-borer, Chilo partellus. Synecology deals with the ecological studies of communities or entire ecosystems.
Thus, a synecologist might study deserts, or caves or tropical forests. He is interested in describing the overall energy and material flow through the system rather than in concentrating on the finer details of a particular organism. In the words of Herreid II (1977) “the two types of study, autecology and synecology, inter-relate, the synecologist painting with a broad brush the outline of the picture and autecologist stroking in the finer details.”
Besides these major ecological subdivisions, there are following specialized branches of ecology:
It deals with ecological study of different habitats on planet earth and their effects on the organisms living there. According to the kind of habitat, ecology is subdivided into marine ecology (oceanography), estuarine ecology”, fresh water ecology (limnology), and terrestrial ecology. The terrestrial ecology in its turn is classified into forest ecology, cropland ecology, grassland ecology, desert ecology, etc., according to the kinds of study of its different habitats.
It deals with the study of the local distribution of animals in various habitats, the recognition and composition of community units, and succession.
It deals with the study of the manner of growth, structure and regulation of population of organisms.
It deals with the problems of niche segregation and speciation.
It is concerned with the ecology of different taxonomic groups of living organisms and eventually includes following divisions of ecology: microbial ecology, mammalian ecology, avian ecology, insect ecology, parasitological, human ecology and so on.
It involves population ecology or man and man s relation to the environment, especially man’s effects on the biosphere and the implication of these effects for man.
It deals with the application of ecological concepts to human needs and thus, it includes following applications of ecology: wild-life management, range management, forestry, conservation, insect control, epidemiology, animal husbandry, aquacultare, agriculture, horticulture, and land use and pollution ecology.
It deals with the ecological study of the processes of soil formation, nutrient cycline energy flow, and productivity.
It deals with the gross and net production of different ecosystems like fresh water, sea water, agriculture, horticulture, ctc., and tries to do proper management of these ecosystems so that maximum yield can be get from them.
It deals with energy conservation and its flow in the organisms within the ecosystem. In it thermodynamics has its significant contribution.
The factors of environment have a direct bearing on the functional aspects of organisms. The ecophysiology deals with the survival of populations as a result of functional adjustments of organisms with different ecological conditions.
It concerns with the adaptations of animals of preferences of particular organisms like insects to particular chemical substances.
An ecologist recognized kind of genetic spasticity in the case of every organism. In any environment only those organisms that are favored by the environment can survive. Thus, genecology deals with the study of variations of species based upon their genetic potentialities.
It is the study of environmental conditions, and life of the past ages, to which palynology, palaeontology, and radioactive dating methods have made significant contribution.
It concentrates on the study of geographical distribution of animals (zoogeography) and plants (phytogeography), and also of palaeoecology and biomes.
It is a modern subdivision of ecology which is concerned with the development of partially or completely regenerating ecosystems for supporting life of man during long space flights or during extended exploration of extra-terrestrial environments.
It is a branch of terrestrial ecology and it deals with the study of soils, in particular their acidity, alkalinity, humus contents, mineral contents, soil-types, etc., and their influence on the organisms.
It deals with the study of gross effects of radiations and radioactive substances over the environment and living organisms.
It is the interpretation of animal behaviour under natural conditions. In it, often, detailed life history studies of particular species are amassed.
It is the study of ecology and ethology of mankind.
It is the modern branch of ecology which is particularly concerned with the analysis and understanding of the function and structure of ecosystem by the use of applied mathematics, such as advanced statistical techniques, mathematical models, characteristics of computer sciences.