ECOLOGY. THE INTRODUCTION. Ecology. Study of the interactions of living organisms with each other and with their physical environment Concerned with distribution and abundance of organisms at several different levels. Organismal ecology.
ECOLOGY THE INTRODUCTION
Ecology • Study of the interactions of living organisms with each other and with their physical environment • Concerned with distribution and abundance of organisms at several different levels
Organismal ecology • How organisms are affected by, and affect, their environment • How organisms can tolerate where they live (environmental stresses) • Physiological ecology
Population ecology • Groups of individuals of the same species within a particular geographical area • Factors that affect population distribution, size
Community ecology • All species that inhabit a particular area • Concerned with competition, predation, other interactions
Ecosystem ecology • All living organisms within an area, plus that part of the physical environment with which they interact • Concerns flow of energy, matter, biogeochemical cycling
Goals of ecology • 1) To understand or explain how nature functions • 2) To develop some degree of predictability concerning how natural ecosystems will respond to changing conditions • Especially important given the influences that humans often have on the environment
Scientific rigor • Science differs from other activities because statements are based on conclusions: • that are results of investigations meant to derive those conclusions (directed activity); • to which a level of confidence can be attached (statistics: Box 1.2, pp. 12-14; Box 1.3, pp. 14-15).
Think ahead! • Analysis plan is a part of experimental design
Conclusions • Based on representative samples from a larger group/habitat • Estimates from representative samples (Box 1.4, pp. 16-17) • Free from human bias
Diversity of Ecological Evidence • 1) Observations (descriptive data) • Careful monitoring within the natural environment to detect patterns
Diversity of Ecological Evidence • 2) Field experiments • Manipulative experiments in the field to establish cause of observed patterns
Diversity of Ecological Evidence • 3) Laboratory experiments • Controlled conditions • Simplified system • Address specific questions
Diversity of Ecological Evidence • 4) Mathematical modeling • Computer-aided
Can simple experiments and models explain complex interactions in nature?