Diversity is not only a characteristic of living organisms but
also of content in biology textbooks. Biology is presented either
as botany, zoology and microbiology or as classical and
modern. The latter is a euphemism for molecular aspects of
biology. Luckily we have many threads which weave the
different areas of biological information into a unifying
principle. Ecology is one such thread which gives us a holistic
perspective to biology. The essence of biological understanding
is to know how organisms, while remaining an individual,
interact with other organisms and physical habitats as a group
and hence behave like organised wholes, i.e., population,
community, ecosystem or even as the whole biosphere.
Ecology explains to us all this. A particular aspect of this is the
study of anthropogenic environmental degradation and the
socio-political issues it has raised. This unit describes as well as
takes a critical view of the above aspects.
Chapter 13
Organisms and Populations
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Biodiversity and Conservation
Chapter 16
Environmental Issues
Ramdeo Misra is revered as the Father of Ecology in India. Born on 26 August
1908, Ramdeo Misra obtained Ph.D in Ecology (1937) under Prof. W. H. Pearsall,
FRS, from Leeds University in UK. He established teaching and research in
ecology at the Department of Botany of the Banaras Hindu University,
Varanasi. His research laid the foundations for understanding of tropical
communities and their succession, environmental responses of plant
populations and productivity and nutrient cycling in tropical forest and
grassland ecosystems. Misra formulated the first postgraduate course in
ecology in India. Over 50 scholars obtained Ph. D degree under his supervision
and moved on to other universities and research institutes to initiate ecology
teaching and research across the country.
He was honoured with the Fellowships of the Indian National Science
Academy and World Academy of Arts and Science, and the prestigious Sanjay
Gandhi Award in Environment and Ecology. Due to his efforts, the
Government of India established the National Committee for Environmental
Planning and Coordination (1972) which, in later years, paved the way
for the establishment of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (1984).