Jones, Clive G. Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York Botanical Garden, Millbrook, New York.
Lewis, Alcinda C. Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York Botanical Garden, Millbrook, New York.
Last reviewed:April 2018
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- Evolution of defenses and adaptation
- Chemical defense in plants
- Active and passive defenses
- Diversity of activities
- Aquatic habitats
- Chemical defense in animals
- Microbial defenses
- Information exchange
- Plants and microorganisms
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The study of ecological interactions mediated by chemicals that organisms produce. Chemical ecology seeks to integrate chemistry and biology in order to provide information about the chemical interactions among organisms and their environment (Fig. 1). The substances that organisms produce and that mediate ecological interactions are known as allelochemicals, and they serve a variety of functions. They influence or regulate interspecific and intraspecific interactions of microorganisms, plants, and animals, and they operate within and between all trophic levels (producers, consumers, and decomposers) and in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. See also: Allelopathy; Chemistry; Ecology; Ecosystem; Trophic ecology
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