What is ecology?
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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 environment

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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:


  • How might nitrogen and phosphorus

  • get into the lake naturally?

2. What would be the effect of these

nutrients on life forms in the lake?


What are the components of the

environment?

Abiotic (temperature, light, water,

minerals, air)

Biotic (living things; how they interact

with each other and the abiotic

components)


How do you study these interactions?

Organismal ecology- how do organisms

cope with the abiotic limits of their

environment?

Population ecology-factors that affect

population density and growth?


Community ecology- interactions

between species: predation,

competition, symbiosis

Ecosystem ecology- energy flow, nutrient

cycling (abiotic components are

considered, too)

Biosphere- from the highest mountains

to the deepest oceans


Abiotic components

  • Sunlight

    • Significance of sunlight?

    • Factors that affect access to sunlight?

    • terrestrial

    • aquatic

II. Water

terrestrial

aquatic organisms


III. Temperature

effect on metabolism

distribution of organisms

“warm-blooded” and “cold-blooded”

organisms

IV. Wind- effect on homeostasis

reproduction

growth patterns


V. Rocks and soil

effect on distribution, density of

organisms

VI. Natural disasters

succession

rare events (volcanic eruptions)

more frequent events (fires)

human-caused (oil spills)


Global climate


Solar energy and latitude


Air circulation

doldrums


As warm air rises, it cools and produces

rain

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

warm

cold


Ocean currents tend to moderate climate

near the coast

Water heats and cools more slowly than

air, so climate is more stable


Local climate

proximity to water

mountains

effect of altitude on temperature

effect on air flow


Biomes- ecosystems that cover large

geographical areas

Terrestrial

Aquatic


Major terrestrial biomes


Tropical forest


Features of tropical forests

“Vertical stratification”

Little light penetrates the canopy

Many epiphytes (plants that grow on

other plants)

Rainfall is variable


Savanna


Savanna

Large herbivores and their predators

Grasslands with a few scattered trees


Desert

Very sparse rainfall

Soil temperature can be as high as 140o

during the day

Plants grow very slowly

Plants and animals are adapted to

conserve water

Plants often have spines or thorns


Temperate grassland (prairie)


Temperate grassland

Prairies

Pampas

Steppes

Seasonal drought

Fires

Grazing

Soil is deep and rich in nutrients


Temperate deciduous forest


Temperate deciduous forests

Climate is moist enough to support

growth of trees

Cold winters:

trees drop leaves

animals hibernate

birds migrate

Few original forests left in North America,

but some have recovered


Coniferous forest


Coniferous forests

Usually have very few tree species

Northern coniferous forest (taiga)

is the largest terrestrial biome

(“spruce-moose” biome)

Subject to heavy snowfall. Significance of

tree shape?

Significance of needles?


Tundra


Tundra

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

California?


Chaparral

Mild, rainy winters; long, hot dry

summers

“Mediterranean climate”

Dense, spiny evergreen shrubs

Plants are adapted to and dependent

on fire


Summary: what factors affect biomes?

Temperature

Latitude

Water

Ocean, wind currents

What factors threaten biomes?


  • Rain forest

  • Why is the rain forest being cleared

  • at a rapid rate?

  • Is this an appropriate use for this land?

  • Why is the rain forest exceptionally

  • “productive”, compared to other biomes?


Grasslands (savanna, prairie)

Why are these biomes disappearing?

Deserts

Why does irrigation tend to damage

soils? Why are deserts particularly

sensitive to this damage?


Deciduous forests

what has been the effect of defores-

tation on “top carnivores”?

Why has deforestation benefited

such species as robins, woodchucks,

and deer?


Coniferous forests

What is acid rain? Why are the northern

forests (coniferous and deciduous)

especially affected by acid rain?

Tundra

What would happen if the permafrost

melted?


Chaparral

Can too much fire prevention be bad

for the biome (and the people

living in it)?


Aquatic biomes

freshwater

marine

estuaries

Largest part of the biosphere


Example: lake

(plants have roots)

(light)

(too dark for photosynthesis)

Benthic zone


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:

Moving water

Stirring up silt

Wetlands: can be freshwater or marine

habitat for migratory birds


Coastal zone

Pelagic

zone


Intertidal zone- between low tide and

high tide marks

organisms are subject to wet and

dry conditions,

changes in temperature

wave action

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

environment?

Physiological (acclimatization)

how do humans adjust to high

altitudes?

Anatomical (protection from elements

or predators)

Behavioral-animals can go somewhere

else!


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