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Topic 6 Ecology. The study of interactions between organisms and their environments. I. Parts of an Ecosystem. A. Biotic factors Biotic factors – all living organisms in a biosphere Ex. Plants, bacteria, animals, us… Biosphere – life-supporting layer of Earth

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Topic 6 Ecology

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Topic 6 ecology l.jpg

Topic 6 Ecology

The study of interactions between organisms and their environments.


I parts of an ecosystem l.jpg

I. Parts of an Ecosystem

A. Biotic factors

  • Biotic factors – all living organisms in a biosphere

    Ex. Plants, bacteria, animals, us…

  • Biosphere – life-supporting layer of Earth

  • Biomass – the mass of all biotic factors


B abiotic factors l.jpg

B. Abiotic Factors

  • Nonliving factors in an environment

  • Examples:

    • Air currents (wind)

    • Temperature (climate)

    • Water (rain, snow, oxygen content)

    • Sunlight (energy)

    • Soil (pH)


C organization of life l.jpg

C. Organization of Life

  • A species’ specific environment is known as their habitat

  • Examples: fields, forests, oceans, streams

  • A habitat is a “home”


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Organization of Life

  • All species that live in the same area or habitat make up a population

  • Examples: ants living in the same anthill, frogs in the same pond


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Organization of Life

  • Populations combine to form a community

  • Example: ants, birds, frogs, fish, & deer live in the Ellison Park community

  • Example: rabbits, coyotes, snakes, birds, mice and cacti live in a desert community


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Organization of Life

  • Communities combine to form ecosystems

  • All of Earth’s ecosystem’s together make up the Biosphere

     includes the Earth’s surface, water, and the atmosphere


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Organization of Life

Biosphere

Ecosystems

Communities

Populations

Organisms


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Organization of Life


Ii population limits a factors that limit population growth are called limiting factors l.jpg

They include:

Food

Minerals

Water

Oxygen

Temperature

Soil pH – too acidic/basic

Sunlight – in a forest

Space – in a nest

II. Population LimitsA. Factors that limit population growth are called limiting factors


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B. Competition

  • The struggle for resources

  • Keeps the population in check

  • Predator - Prey Relationships

    • As predators kill their prey, the prey population is limited (decreased)

    • If too many prey are killed, predators starve

    • Fewer predators allows prey populations to repopulate

  • Too many of one kind will cause suffering…


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Competition

  • If there is too much of one kind of animal, the rest will suffer. For example…

  • Since there are so few wolves around, deer have multiplied.

  • Because there are so many deer, the bark of many trees has been stripped off.

  • Now, deer are invading people’s yards in search of food and eating my bird seed!

  • Deer bring Lyme Disease, which sickens people, and they cause many car accidents

  • More car accidents means higher insurance rates…


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C. Carrying Capacity

  • The number of organisms an ecosystem can support or “carry”

  • Determined by the amount of resources available and by organisms interactions

    • Ex. An increased mouse population in a field will increase the carrying capacity of foxes to a certain extent

    • Ex. Increased medical advances has increased the human population but for how long???


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Human Population Growth


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What will happen if the human population continues to grow at this same rate?

  • Is there a human carrying capacity?

  • Yes - what will happen if we reach it?

    • Famine, death, disease, war over resources

    • More Human Ecology to come in Topic 7


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III. Ecosystem Relationships

A. Organisms have certain “roles” in an ecosystem

  • Called their ecological niche

  • Only one species can occupy a particular niche

  • If two species attempt to occupy the same niche they will compete for resources


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Ecosystem Relationships

  • Deer and moose appear to have the same niche

  • They seem to live in the same area and eat the same plants, but that isn’t the case

  • Deer and moose only eat the same plants when food is scarce

  • When this occurs they must compete


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B. Symbiotic Relationships

  • In ecosystems, populations are linked

  • They depend on each other in different ways  interdependent

  • Sometimes relationships are cooperative, sometimes they are competitive

  • There are 3 types of relationships:


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Symbiotic Relationships

  • Commensalism – one organisms benefits, the other is not affected

    Ex. Barnacles on whales

  • Mutualism – both organisms benefit

    Ex. Bees and flowers, birds and rhinos

  • Parasitism – one benefits, one is harmed

    Ex. Tapeworms, lice, ticks, heartworms


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Symbiotic Relationships Chart(Symbiosis – “living together”)


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C. Feeding (Trophic) Relationships-one of the most common

  • Organisms are identified by how they obtain their food

  • Autotrophs  self-feeders or producers

  • Heterotrophs  consumers

    • Herbivores eat plants

    • Carnivores eat meat

    • Omnivores eat both plants and meat

    • Scavengers eat dead organisms

    • Decomposers  break down remains of all organisms and recycle nutrients


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D. Trophic Pyramids

Show distribution of biomass in an ecosystem

  • Autotrophs (producers) – most biomass

  • Primary consumers (herbivores)

  • Secondary consumers (carnivores)

  • Tertiary consumers (carnivores/top predators) – least biomass

    Some trophic pyramids include energy distribution as well…


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Trophic Pyramids


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E. Food Chains/Food Webs

  • Also show relationships between organisms  predator - prey

  • Normally, each organism feeds on more than one food source

  • Food webs show a more complex feeding relationship

  • They are more realistic than food chains; see example…


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