Ecology was the study of the distribution of lifeforms throughout the galaxy, and how those lifeforms interacted with other lifeforms and their environments. It was a multi-disciplinary science which focused on a broad range of studies relating to living organisms. Ecology was generally considered to be a branch of biology. The R'Kaal were said to be ecological extremists. (VOY: "Renaissance Man")

Typically, several ecologies would develop independently on a class M world. These were usually separated by large distances, although there were some rare occurrences where vastly different ecologies co-existed significantly close to one another. Some examples of this included the planet Lactra VII and the Genesis Planet. (TAS: "The Eye of the Beholder"; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

In 2151, several crew members of Enterprise NX-01 made an ecological survey of an M-class planet which would later become known as Archer IV. (ENT: "Strange New World")

In 2269, when Leonard McCoy expressed surprise at Cyrano Jones's assertion that his "safe" tribbles didn't reproduce, Jones explained that they'd been "genetically engineered for compatibility with humanoid ecologies". Koloth described Jones' actions as ecological sabotage. (TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles") Worf would later echo his sentiments, calling tribbles "an ecological menace, a plague to be wiped out". (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

In 2369, the USS Enterprise-D brought relief supplies to Tagra IV in the Argolis Cluster. The ecology of this planet had been devastated by the Tagrans' industrial activity. (TNG: "True Q")

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