n. the study of the effects of chemical compounds on the interactions of living organisms
Chemical ecology is the study of chemicals involved in the interactions of living organisms. It focuses on the production of and response to signalling molecules (i.e. semiochemicals) and toxins. Chemical ecology is of particular importance among ants and other social insects — including bees, wasps, and termites — as a means of communication essential to social organization, and also in insect parasitoids. In addition, this area of ecology deals with studies involving defensive chemicals, which are utilized to deter potential predators or pathogens attacking a wide variety of species. Other aspects of chemical ecology deal with chemical responses of organisms to abiotic factors such as temperature and radiation.