Abstract. The history of the study of hydroid ecology is briefly outlined, pointing out the major methodological innovations which have contributed to the development of ecological research in the last thirty years. The influence of the major ecological factors on hydroid ecology and biology is synthesized, taking into account: substratum, water movement, light, salinity, sedimentation, exposure to air, temperature, food availability and pollution. Besides affecting the species composition of the hydroid community, these factors also influence the morphology and general biology of the individual species. The adaptations and reactions of hydroids to different intensities of the various environmental factors and to their combinations are reported.