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Principles of Ecology. What is ecology?. Ecology : study of interactions that take place between organisms and their environment. Habitat vs. Niche. Habitat : place where organism lives Niche : role or position a species has in its environment.

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what is ecology
What is ecology?
  • Ecology: study of interactions that take place between organisms and their environment
habitat vs niche
Habitat vs. Niche
  • Habitat: place where organism lives
  • Niche: role or position a species has in its environment
Symbiosis: interactions between 2 species “living together”
  • Mutualism: both benefits
  • Commensalism: one benefits, the other unaffected
  • Parasitism: one benefits, one is harmed
  • Predation: one benefits, one dies

Clownfish is protected, while providing a lure for the anemone.

Some say that this relationship can be commensalistic.


Head lice

predation is the interaction between two species in which one species uses another species as food
Predation: is the interaction between two species in which one species uses another species as food.
Competition: is the interaction between organisms where the fitness of one is lowered by the presence of another. Organisms will not benefit because they are competing for limited resources (food, water, space, mate, etc.)
how do organisms obtain energy
How do organisms obtain energy?
  • Autotroph (producer): photosynthetic or chemosynthetic, makes own food
  • Heterotroph (consumer): “eat” other organisms, cannot make own food
heterotroph consumers are not all alike
HeterotrophConsumers are not all alike:
  • Herbivores eat only plants- primary consumers or 1st order consumers
  • Carnivores eat only animals- secondary, tertiary, quaternary consumers or 2nd, 3rd, 4th order consumers
  • Omnivores eat both plants and animals.
  • Detritivores eat dead or decaying organic matter- scavengers.
  • Decomposers are detritivores that break down organic matter into simpler compounds. They recycle!
heterotrophs herbivores
Heterotrophs - herbivores
  • consume only vegetative matter
  • mostly primary consumers. Or 1st Order Consumers.
heterotrophs carnivores
Heterotrophs - carnivores
  • obtain energy from eating other consumers
  • Secondary, tertiary and quaternary consumers
  • 2nd, 3rd, 4th Order Consumers
heterotrophs omnivores
Heterotrophs - omnivores
  • obtain energy from eating producers and consumers

Typical examples: fungus and bacteria

heterotrophs detritivores scavengers
Heterotrophs – Detritivores (scavengers)
  • Scavengers: feed off of dead or decaying living things but do not recycle matter back into the ecosystem
food chain
Food chain
  • shows how matter and energy move through an ecosystem (one route)

berries → mice → black bear

Starter 26

food web
Food web
  • shows interactions among organisms (all possible routes)
  • Contains Multiple overlapping Food Chains
1. Label each of the organisms either as producers, primary, secondary tertiary or quaternary consumers, carnivores, herbivores and predators in this food web.

Copy food web in your notebook

2. Analyze the food web and Explain the balance that is upset when a major predator is removed from an ecosystem.

energy pyramid
Energy pyramid

Pyramid of Energy


0.1% Consumers

1% Consumers


  • Shows how much energy is available at each trophic (energy) level





Parasites, scavengers, and decomposers feed at each level.

Starter 25

energy pyramids show
energy transferredEnergy Pyramids Show
  • As you go up, you lose 90 % of energy as HEAT.
  • Only 10 percent of energy is carried over to the next organism


biomass pyramid
Biomass pyramid
  • Biomass is the total mass of living matter at each trophic level
  • Or Biomass is a measure of the total dry mass of organisms in a given area.


Number pyramid- A pyramid of numbers shows the numbers of individual organisms at each trophic level in an ecosystem. A vast number of producers are required to support even a few top level consumers
four cycles in nature
Four cycles in nature
  • Water cycle
  • Carbon cycle
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Phosphorus cycle
Water cycle: The hydrologic, or water, cycle is the circular pathway of water on Earth.Organisms all have bodies made mostly of water
carbon cycle carbon is the building block of life
Carbon CycleCarbon is the building block of life.
  • The carbon cycle moves carbon from the atmosphere, through the food web, and back to the atmosphere.
  • Carbon is emitted during the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Some carbon is stored for long periods of time in areas called carbon sinks.
photosynthesis cellular respiration
Photosynthesis/Cellular Respiration

Cyclical process, whereby matter (carbon) is recycled in the environment.

nitrogen cycle
Nitrogen cycle

The nitrogen cycle mostly takes place underground

  • Some bacteria convert gaseous nitrogen into ammonia through a process called nitrogen fixation.
  • Some nitrogen-fixing bacteria live innodules on theroots of plants;others livefreely insoil.
nitrogen cycle cont
Nitrogen cycle cont.
  • Ammonia released into the soil is transformed into ammonium.
  • Nitrifying bacteria change the ammonium into nitrate.
  • Nitrogen moves through the foodweb and returnsto the soil duringdecomposition.