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Applied Ecology - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Applied Ecology. Contents. Diversity Effects of Pollution on Diversity Structural, Physiological and Behavioural Adaptations of Organisms for Survival in a Given Niche Agricultural Ecosystems Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem Conservation. Diversity. Depends on:

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Presentation Transcript
  • Diversity
  • Effects of Pollution on Diversity
  • Structural, Physiological and Behavioural Adaptations of Organisms for Survival in a Given Niche
  • Agricultural Ecosystems
  • Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Conservation
  • Depends on:

- number of species and abundance of each species in an ecosystem

  • Growth of population depends on:

- Abiotic factors

- Biotic factors

Index of Diversity:

d = N(N-1)/Σn(n-1)

d: index of diversity

N: total number of organisms of all species in area

n: total number of organisms of each species in area

impact of humans
Impact of Humans
  • Humans pose a huge threat to lives of animals, plants and their environment
  • Our impact is so great due to:

- technologies that change the world so quickly

- population increase

- consumption of natural resources, and waste

human population growth
Human Population Growth
  • Humans can adapt to survive in almost all habitats and climates. The human population is increasing rapidly and is threatening the environment
  • The population will eventually be limited by these factors:

- food and water supply

- disease and pollution

- over-crowding

- sudden changes in climate

  • Atmospheric: Caused by combustion, exhaust fumes, livestock, waste dumps
  • Effects:

- smoke, which damages air quality

- carbon dioxide and Methane, which cause climate change

- sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which mix with rainwater to form acid rain

- carbon monoxide, which is poisonous to humans and animals

  • Water: Caused by deposition of substances into seas, lakes, rivers
  • Effects:

- sewage and oil, which destroy habitats and kill animals

- fertilisers and pesticides, which damage ecosystems

ecological niche

Examples of Relationships (Interactions) Between Species

Ecological Niche
  • Describes how organisms in an ecosystem interact
  • What it does that affects or contributes to its surroundings
  • Includes: habitat, relationships and nutrition
  • Definition: formed by interactions between biotic (plants, microbes etc.) and abiotic (temp. humidity etc.) factors in a defined area, an agroecostystem influences the distribution and population of living organisms
  • Tends to minimise human impact
  • Differs from natural ecosystems:

- maintenance at an early successional state

- monoculture

- crops planted in rows

- simplification of biodiversity

- intensive tillage

- use of GM organisms and artificially selected crops

  • Refers to the study of an ecological phenomenon in the crop field e.g. relations between predators and prey
  • Needs energy input to maintain a balance

e.g. use of pesticides disturbs balance by killing organisms

  • Maintenance keeps pest populations at manageable levels:

- ecosystems are ever changing systems

- ecosystems follow food webs

- All elements of an agroecosystem are closely linked. Disturbance to one has effects on others

harvesting from a natural ecosystem
Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Humans have a huge impact on the planet. This includes intensive farming, selective breeding and pesticides/fertilisers
  • Impacts of Monoculture:
  • Genetic diversity is reduced, crops susceptible to disease
  • Fertilisers pollute groundwater
  • Pesticides pollute groundwater
  • Species diversity is reduced
  • Countryside less attractive
  • Crop rotation: breaks pests’ life cycles, improves soil texture and can increase soil nitrogen
harvesting from a natural ecosystem11
Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Hedgerows have been diminishing due to human need for barren land
  • Benefits of hedgerows to ecosystem:
  • Provide habitats
  • Animals use them to move safely between woodlands
  • Shelter predators of pests
  • Windbreaks, shelter, reduce soil erosion
  • Provide habitats for pollinating insects
  • Importance is now being recognised and farmers are receiving grants to plant hedgerows
harvesting from a natural ecosystem12
Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Inorganic fertilisers are most common but affect the environment
  • Benefits of organic fertilisers to ecosystem:
  • Compounds decompose slowly and prevent leaching
  • They are cheap
  • Can be disposed of on fields and not only in landfill sites
  • Improves soil structure and improves drainage and aeration
  • But… bulky and less concentrated than inorganic ones, highly odorous and can contain weed seeds etc.
harvesting from a natural ecosystem13
Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Intensive farming can damage the environment.


harvesting from a natural ecosystem14
Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Pesticides can harm larger organisms.



Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem

  • Fishing:

Unsustainability: the using up of resources faster than they are produced so that they will not continue in the future

e.g. North Sea Cod are over-fished so are reproducing slower than are being caught. Effect  population is heavily declining

  • Forestry:

Humans burn wood or clear land for farming  deforestation:

1) destroys habitats

2) causes soil erosion  barren land and flooding

3) causes pollution from combustion

4) increased levels of carbon dioxide as loss of photosynthesis



  • Humans recognise the necessity to maintain a balance between the needs of ourselves and other species
  • Conservation of forests: encouragement of sustainable use of forests
  • Governments must be persuaded that more money can often be made by exploiting forests on a sustainable basis than by destroying them
  • Diversity
  • Effects of Pollution on Diversity
  • Structural, Physiological and Behavioural Adaptations of Organisms for Survival in a Given Niche
  • Agricultural Ecosystems
  • Harvesting from a Natural Ecosystem
  • Conservation