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ECOLOGY

Definition of Terms

• Ecology: the study of the relationships between


organisms and their environments

• Biosphere: the portion of the earth that is capable of


supporting life

• Ecosystem: the portion of the biosphere where living and


non-living things interact
– Biotic: living part (plants and animals)
– Abiotic: non-living part (environment)
• Community: all of the organisms living together in a
particular area

• Population: all of the organisms of one species which are


in the community

• Habitat: the place within the community where the


population lives

• Niche: the function an organism has in its environment


DYNAMICS OF THE ECOSYSTEM
A. Energy Relationships
1. Producers
2. Consumers
3. Food Chain
4. Energy pyramid

B. Ecological Succession
A.Energy Relationship

1. Producers

• make food (autotroph)


• Photosynthesis is used to make food
• Plants are producers
2. Consumers

• eat food (heterotroph)


• Respiration is used to obtain energy from food
Types of consumers

Primary consumer: eats a producer (herbivore)

Secondary consumer: eats a primary consumer


(carnivore)

Tertiary consumer: eats a secondary consumer


Decomposers:

• break down dead things into basic nutrients (reducer)

• Provide basic nutrients which the producers turn into food

• Remove the waste from the ecosystem


(detritivores/scavengers)
3.Food Chain

• A series of producers and consumers

• Food web: A complex feeding system with many food


chains
4.Energy Pyramid

• Diagram showing how energy is transferred through a


food chain
• Each level represents either a producer a consumer
• When energy is transferred from one level to another
about 90% of the energy is lost
B.Ecological succession

• The tendency for ecosystems to change from simple to


complex
Example
– Primary: occurs on bare, lifeless substrates (sand dunes)
– Secondary: occurs in areas which previously had life, but were
disturbed by some event (wild fire)
Terms

• Climax community: the community that is established


when the succession has stabilized

• Fugitive species: species which occur early in the


successional stages and later disappear
Population Dynamics
Population Dynamics
A. Population Growth
1. Biotic potential
2. Carrying capacity
B. Ecological relationships that affect population size
1. Competition
2. Predator-Prey interaction
3. Defenses to predation
C. Symbiosis
1. Mutualism
2. Commensalism
3. Parasitism
A. Population growth

1.Biotic potential

• the rate at which a population will increase with no limits


(at optimum conditions)
• Affected by several factors
– Emigration: movement out of the area
– Immigration: movement into an area
2.carrying capacity

is the maximum population size of the species that the


environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat,
water, and other necessities available in the environment.
B. Ecological relationships that affect
population size
1.Competition

• when two organisms are both using a resource that is in


short supply
2.Predator-Prey interaction

• Predator: organism that captures other organisms for food


• Prey: organism that is eaten by the predator
3.Defenses to predation

• Plants:
– plants will release chemicals to inhibit digestion by animals
– spikes,thorns and prickles
C. Symbiosis

• when two organisms live together

• Types of Symbiosis
– Mutualism: symbiosis where both organisms benefit
– Commensalism: where one organism benefits and the other is
not affected
– Parasitism: symbiosis where one organism lives off of another
organism (host)
Commensalism
Parasitism
BIOMES
BIOMES

A. A region with a distinct climate and the organisms that


live there

B. Biomes generally blend into one another at their border

C. Biomes are determined based on the amount of annual


rainfall
Types of Biomes

• Tropical Rain Forest


• Savanna
• Desert
• Grassland
• Temperate Deciduous Forest
• Taiga
• Tundra
• Aquatic Environments
Tropical Rain Forest

• High rainfall and high temperature


• High productivity despite infertile soil
• Nutrients are stored in plants and rapidly recycled
• Almost half of all terrestrial organisms live here
Savanna

• Reduced rainfall and temperature


• Typically covered with grass and scattered trees
• Transitional between tropical rain forest and desert
Desert

• Low rainfall and high temperatures


• Desert plants store water (succulents) and have extensive
roots
• Most animals are nocturnal (active at night) to avoid the
heat
• Critical factor is water (behavior and physiology adapted
to conserve water)
Grasslands (prairie)

• Abundant rainfall and seasonal temperature changes


• Grasses are the most common plant (few trees)
• Grazing animals very common: horses, rabbits, cows
Temperate deciduous forest

• Distinct seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall)


• Rainfall varies
• Many varieties of plants (perennial) and animals
• Chaparral: evergreen scrub-type plants common in
Mediterranean-type climates
Taiga (northern coniferous forests)

• Long, cold winters with little precipitation


• Most of the precipitation occurs in the summer
• Extensive coniferous forests (pine, hemlock, fir)
• Many large animals (moose, elk, bear, deer, etc)
Tundra

• 40% of the earth's land surface


• Low temperatures and low rainfall
• Very short growing season
• Found at high latitudes and very cold places
• Most of the water is trapped in the permafrost located a
few feet below the surface
Aquatic Environment

• 75% of the earth's surface


• Zones:
– Neritic zone (shallow waters along coasts)
– Surface zone (open sea)
– Abyssal zone (deep water)