Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society (1953) 1: 5- 6

Biological communities: A conception of biological communities

Report to Annual Meeting
E. J. Batham  

[First paragraph(s)...]
For myself, I intend to use the term "com- munity" rather vaguely for a particular group of organisms characteristic of a given habitat, large or small. When asked to speak on this subject, I thought I had better see whether ecologists had more precise definitions to offer. Consultation of . literature did not clarify the matter, merely emphasising that terms such as "community", "association", and "formation" are liable to be interchanged or used even in opposite senses by different workers. The term "biocenosis" also comes into the scene, as roughly a synonym of community, but one where the organisms are more in evidence than the habitat. Whether the introduction of cumbersome terms such as this last one is desirable seems doubtful. Unnecessary terminology may merely hinder the development of ecology, bringing to mind the flippant definition of it as "that phase of biology primarily abandoned to terminology".⇥This seems an even more damning definition of ecology than "crude physiology" or "natural history trying to be scientific", We surely want the subject in this country to develop into something more real than a terminological discussion. Perhaps it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of the original idea of ecology as "the study of the relationship between organisms and their environment".