The field of ecology has deep roots among many scientists and developed significantly starting in the 18th and 19th centuries. The word itself, coined by German scientist Ernst Haeckel in 1866, derives from the Greek for "study of our house" (oikos=house; logos=study). By ecology, he wrote "we understand the comprehensive science of the relationships of the organism to its surrounding environment, [and] in the broader sense, all conditions of existence."
Understanding the interactions among species, and particularly the co-evolutionary relationships between animals and plants, is essential to appreciating the importance of native plants as the foundation for stable and healthy ecosystems. And it is tremendously fun! Enjoy these beautiful examples that give us a small glimpse into the complexity of life. They may inspire your landscape and stewardship work.