An Introduction to Marine Ecology. What is Ecology?. Ecology is the study of the interactions of organisms and their environment. The organisms presence & activities change the environment. Abiotic Factors. Biotic Factors. Non living Light Water Temperature Nutrients
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What is Ecology? • Ecology is the study of the interactions of organisms and their environment. The organisms presence & activities change the environment.
Abiotic Factors Biotic Factors • Non living • Light • Water • Temperature • Nutrients • Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide • Other organisms
Organization in Ecology • Organismal ecology is concerned with the behavioral, physiological and morphological ways in which individual organisms meet the challenges posed by physiochemical aspect of the environment. The organism’s limit of tolerance for environmental stresses ultimately determine where it can live.
Organization in Ecology • Population – group of individuals in a particular geographic area that belong to the same species; population ecology concentrates mainly on factors that affect population size and composition
Organization in Ecology • Communities include all organisms and populations of different species in a particular area. Analysis at this level involves the ways in which predation, competition and other interactions among organisms affect community structure and organization.
Organization in Ecology • Ecosystems are composed of all biotic and abiotic factors including how energy and nutrients cycle through the ecosystem.
Population Growth • Exponential Growth – Fig. 10.2 – predicts unlimited population increase under ideal condition of unlimited resources
Population Growth • Logistic population growth – Fig. 10-4 (red curve) – assumes that there is a maximum population size that the environment can support; the carrying capacity. Growth slows as the population size approached the carrying capacity.
Population Growth • What factors can act as limiting factors on population growth? • Food • Water • Shelter • Temperature • Light • Competition • Number of organisms
Regulation of Population SizeCompetition for Resources • Competitive exclusion – the concept that if two different populations of organisms are competing for the same limited resource, one population will use the resources more efficiently and have a reproductive advantage that will eventually lead to the elimination of the other population. (Fig. 10-5)
Regulation of Population SizeCompetition for Resources • Resource partitioning – the division of environmental resources by coexisting species populations such that the niche of each species differs by one or more significant factors from the niches of all coexisting populations
Regulation of Population SizePredation • Predation affects the numbers of both predator and prey; many predators concentrate on common species of prey because it is energy efficient
Regulation of Population SizePredation • Co-evolution – mutual influence on the evolution of two different species interacting with each other and reciprocally influencing each others adaptations
Regulation of Population SizeSymbiosis – two species that live together in direct contact; symbiont and host • Commensalism – one benefits without affecting the other
Regulation of Population SizeSymbiosis • Parasitism – symbiont benefits at the expense of the host
Regulation of Population SizeSymbiosis • Mutualism – both symbiont and host benefit
Energy Flow & Cycling of Nutrients • Tropic Structure – different feeding relationships in an ecosystem that determine the route of energy flow and the pattern of chemical cycling. Tropic levels are based on the main nutritional source. Tropic levels include: • Producers • Consumers (primary, secondary, tertiary) • Decomposers
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsTrophic Structure • Producers are autotrophs, organisms that can make their own food. This is the trophic level that ultimately supports all other life.
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsTrophic Structure • Consumers are heterotrophs, organisms that must obtain their food by eating autotrophs (primary consumers) or by eating other consumers (secondary/tertiary consumers)
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsTrophic Structure • Decomposers break down waste products and dead organisms to release nutrients to primary producers
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsTrophic Structure • Why are the number of levels in any food chain limited to 3 to 4 levels? • Only 10% of the energy in one trophic level is passed to the next trophic level. The other 90% is used up by the activities of the organism
Energy Flow & Cycling of Nutrients • Primary productivity is the amount of light energy converted to chemical energy by autotrophs; this is expressed as the amount of carbon fixed or the rate of synthesis of new biomass. • The total amount of organic carbon manufactured by primary producers is called the gross primary production. • Net primary production is the rate of photosynthesis minus the rate of respiration.
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsCycling of Nutrients • Biological, chemical, and geological processes move nutrients among organic and inorganic components. (Remember matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed.)
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsWater Cycle Driven by solar energy, most of the cycle occurs between the oceans and the atmosphere through evaporation and precipitation. Its movement also transfers other material in biochemical cycles.
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsCarbon Cycle The reciprocal processes of photosynthesis and respiration are responsible for the major transformations and movement of carbon
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsNitrogen Cycle Most of the nitrogen cycling through food webs is taken up by photosynthetic organisms in the form of nitrate. Most of this comes from the nitrification of ammonium that results from the decomposition of organic material
Energy Flow & Cycling of NutrientsPhosphorus Cycle No atmospheric component; tends to cycle locally from the weathering of rocks.
Ecological Zonationof the Marine Environment • Classified on the basis of three physical criteria; light penetration, distance from the shore and water depth. These three criteria will determine what type of communities live in these areas.