Hello, I'm Daniel Botkin and I'm going to introduce the science of ecology. Ecology is the science about the relationship between living things, including us people, and their environment. I've been an environmental scientist, we call ourselves ecologists, for many years. I've been on the faculty of Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and chairman of the environmental studies program, as well as a professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Here's a list of what I hope you will learn about ecology from my talk. First, ecology, as I just said, is the science about how nature works and where people and all living creatures fit in. For life to continue, there must be a cycling of chemical elements and a flow of energy. The ecosystem is the term that refers to the basic system that supports life and allows it to persist. Ecosystems are necessary for chemical cycling and the flow-through of energy. An ecosystem has a physical medium, air or water or both, and the variety of species that allow chemical cycling and recycling and the flow of energy. Another term that I hope you'll remember is biodiversity. That's the number species in any one place at any one time. High biodiversity is valuable for the long-term persistence of life, especially as the environment changes.