What is ecology? the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. Schindler et al., 1974, Canada Will adding nitrogen and phosphorus promote the growth of algae in lakes?. N and P added to this lake. Barrier separating the lakes. Two months later:.
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What is ecology?
the study of the interactions
between organisms and their
Schindler et al., 1974, Canada
Will adding nitrogen and phosphorus
promote the growth of algae in lakes?
N and P added
to this lake
Barrier separating the lakes
Two months later:
2. What would be the effect of these
nutrients on life forms in the lake?
What are the components of the
Abiotic (temperature, light, water,
Biotic (living things; how they interact
with each other and the abiotic
How do you study these interactions?
Organismal ecology- how do organisms
cope with the abiotic limits of their
Population ecology-factors that affect
population density and growth?
Community ecology- interactions
between species: predation,
Ecosystem ecology- energy flow, nutrient
cycling (abiotic components are
Biosphere- from the highest mountains
to the deepest oceans
effect on metabolism
distribution of organisms
“warm-blooded” and “cold-blooded”
IV. Wind- effect on homeostasis
V. Rocks and soil
effect on distribution, density of
VI. Natural disasters
rare events (volcanic eruptions)
more frequent events (fires)
human-caused (oil spills)
Solar energy and latitude
As warm air rises, it cools and produces
Cooled air sinks at 30o N and 30o S
and is warmed as it sinks
Wet again at 60o N and 60o S
Dry at poles
Ocean currents tend to moderate climate
near the coast
Water heats and cools more slowly than
air, so climate is more stable
proximity to water
effect of altitude on temperature
effect on air flow
Biomes- ecosystems that cover large
Major terrestrial biomes
Features of tropical forests
Little light penetrates the canopy
Many epiphytes (plants that grow on
Rainfall is variable
Large herbivores and their predators
Grasslands with a few scattered trees
Very sparse rainfall
Soil temperature can be as high as 140o
during the day
Plants grow very slowly
Plants and animals are adapted to
Plants often have spines or thorns
Temperate grassland (prairie)
Soil is deep and rich in nutrients
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate deciduous forests
Climate is moist enough to support
growth of trees
trees drop leaves
Few original forests left in North America,
but some have recovered
Usually have very few tree species
Northern coniferous forest (taiga)
is the largest terrestrial biome
Subject to heavy snowfall. Significance of
Significance of needles?
Permafrost, cold temperatures, high winds
Very dry climate, but water stands because
it cannot penetrate the permafrost
Growing season is very short (2 months)
Similar conditions exist at high altitudes,
whatever the latitude (alpine tundra)
What is the principal biome in coastal
Mild, rainy winters; long, hot dry
Dense, spiny evergreen shrubs
Plants are adapted to and dependent
Summary: what factors affect biomes?
Ocean, wind currents
What factors threaten biomes?
Grasslands (savanna, prairie)
Why are these biomes disappearing?
Why does irrigation tend to damage
soils? Why are deserts particularly
sensitive to this damage?
what has been the effect of defores-
tation on “top carnivores”?
Why has deforestation benefited
such species as robins, woodchucks,
What is acid rain? Why are the northern
forests (coniferous and deciduous)
especially affected by acid rain?
What would happen if the permafrost
Can too much fire prevention be bad
for the biome (and the people
living in it)?
Largest part of the biosphere
(plants have roots)
(too dark for photosynthesis)
Lakes vary in the nutrients they have
Oligotropic: few nutrients, clear water
Eutropic: lots of nutrients: algae and
the animals that feed on them
Estuaries: where freshwater and marine
systems meet. Very productive because:
Stirring up silt
Wetlands: can be freshwater or marine
habitat for migratory birds
Intertidal zone- between low tide and
high tide marks
organisms are subject to wet and
changes in temperature
What types of organisms live there?
Coral reefs- warm, shallow oceans
Open sea- pelagic zone
Photic, aphotic zones- more productive
near poles than the equator
Phytoplankton- photosynthetic microbes
Zooplankton- drifting animals (krill)
that eat phytoplankton
What eats the zooplankton?
Hydrothermal vent communities
How do organisms adapt to their
how do humans adjust to high
Anatomical (protection from elements
Behavioral-animals can go somewhere