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Chapter 3 Miss Colabelli. Ecology. What is Ecology?. Ecology: the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments, focusing on energy transfer Known as the science of relationships. What makes up the environment?. The environment is made up of two factors:

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Chapter 3 miss colabelli

Chapter 3

Miss Colabelli


What is ecology
What is Ecology?

  • Ecology: the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments, focusing on energy transfer

  • Known as the science of relationships

What makes up the environment
What makes up the environment?

  • The environment is made up of two factors:

    • Biotic factors

      • All living organisms inhabiting the Earth

    • Abiotic factors

      • Non-living parts of the environment

      • Ex: temperature, soil, sunlight, moisture








  • Any unicellular or multicellular form exhibiting all of the characteristics of life

  • The lowest level of organization


  • Group of organisms of one species living in the same place at the same time that interbreed

  • Produce fertile offspring

  • Compete with each other for resources

    • Ex: food, mates, shelter


  • Several interacting populations that inhabit a common environment and are interdependent


  • Populations in a community and the abiotic factors with which they interact

    • Ex: marine, terrestrial


  • Life supporting portions of Earth composed of air, land, fresh water, and salt water

  • The highest level of organization

Habitat vs niche
Habitat vs. Niche

  • Habitat

    • Place in which an organism lives out its life

  • Niche

    • Role a species plats in a community; its total way of life

    • Determined by the tolerance limitations of an organism or limiting factor

  • Limiting factor

    • Any biotic or abiotic factor that restricts the existence of organisms in a specific environment

    • Ex: amount of water, food, temperature, space, and mates

Feeding relationships
Feeding Relationships

  • There are three main types of feeding relationships

    • Producer – Consumer

    • Predator – Prey

    • Parasite – Host


  • All autotrophs (plants) that trap energy from the sun

  • Bottom of the food chain


  • All heterotrophs

  • Organisms that ingest food containing the sun’s energy

    • Herbivores

    • Carnivores

    • Omnivores

    • Decomposers

  • Primary consumers

    • Eat plants (herbivores)

  • Secondary, tertiary … consumers

    • Prey on animals (carnivores)


  • Predators

    • Hunt prey animals for food

  • Scavengers

    • Feed on carrion, dead animals

  • Omnivores

    • Eat both plants and animals

  • Decomposers

    • Breakdown the complex compounds of dead and decaying plants and animals into simpler molecules that can be absorbed

Symbiotic relationships
Symbiotic Relationships

  • Symbiosis

    • Commensalism

    • Parasitism

    • Mutualism

Symbiotic relationships1
Symbiotic Relationships

  • Commensalism

    • One species and the other is neither harmed not helped

      • Ex: polar bears and cyanobacteria

  • Parasitism

    • One species benefits (parasite) and the other is harmed (host)

    • Parasite – host relationship

      • Ex: tick on an animal

  • Mutualism

    • Beneficial to both species

      • Ex: cleaning birds and cleaner shrimp

Trophic levels
Trophic Levels

  • Each link in a food chain is known as a trophic level

  • Represent a feeding step in the transfer of energy and matter in an ecosystem

Trophic levels1
Trophic Levels







Tertiary consumers- top carnivores

Secondary consumers-small carnivores

Primary consumers- Herbivores

Producers- Autotrophs

Trophic levels2
Trophic Levels

  • Food web

    • Shows all possible feeding relationships in a community at each trophic level

    • Represents a network of interconnected food chains


Food chain Food web

(just 1 path of energy) (all possible energy paths)

Nutrient cycles
Nutrient Cycles

  • Cycling maintains homeostasis in the environment

  • Three cycles

    • Water cycle

    • Carbon cycle

    • Nitrogen cycle

Water cycle
Water Cycle

  • Evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation

Carbon cycle
Carbon Cycle

  • Photosynthesis and respiration cycle carbon and oxygen through the environment

Nitrogen cycle
Nitrogen Cycle

  • Atmospheric nitrogen (N2) makes up nearly 78-80% of air

  • Organisms can not use it in that form

  • Lightning and bacteria convert nitrogen in usable forms

Nitrogen cycle1
Nitrogen Cycle

  • Only certain bacteria and industrial technologies can fix nitrogen

  • Nitrogen fixation

    • Convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into ammonium (NH4+)which can be used to make organic compounds like amino acids

    • N2  NH4+

  • Nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria are essential to maintaining the fertility of semi-aquatic environments