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CHAPTER 3 3.1 ECOLOGY (INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGY)


GENERAL VIEW

1. Ecology: The scientific study of the interaction between organism and


their environment

2. Ecology: Greek oikos home; logos to study


3. Various definitions: Ecology is the study of relationships between organisms in their natural habitat. Ecology is the study of organisms relating to their natural environment.

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Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and their environments (Ernst Haekel, 1969). Ecology is the study of the structure and function of the natural environment with Man as a part of the natural environment. Ecology is the study of the sum total of relationships between organisms and the environment (Websters Unabridged Dictionary).

4. Ecology Two parts: Autecology: The study of the relationships between

individual organisms, populations or species and the environment. The life cycles and organism behaviour as an adaptation to the environment. Synecology: The study of groups of organisms that combine to form a whole unit. Example: Relationship of Shorea sp with its environment, must take the autecological approach. On the contrary, if the study is related to the forest in which the Shorea sp plants live, the study approach must be synecological.

(Shorea sp.)

5. Parts of ecology: a. Habitat ecology: marine ecology, freshwater ecology, estuarine ecology and terrestrial ecology. b. Ecosystem ecology: This is related to the relationships between biotic and abiotic components in an ecosystem. c. Production ecology: which is related to the aspects of energy transfer in a system, the flow of energy through organisms and the rate of increase of organic compositions and organisms

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d. Palaentology which is related to the geological environment of fossil organisms e. Preservation ecology which is related to the efficient and effective management. 6. The Importance of Ecology: a. Understand the functions and roles of an ecosystem. The fact that the plant and animal complex in a community is the sum total of the inter relationships between organisms and their physical environment. b. It enables us to understand the concept of natural population control. c. With the development of improved sampling methods, the study of natural populations of organisms can be carried out more accurately. d. It enables the management of chemical control on animal pests such as insects, to be carried out more effectively. e. Understand the life system of a species. This way, primary mortality factors in a natural population is known. Enables us to develop control measures that least affects the balance of the natural environment. f. With the knowledge of the effects of physical environmental factors on the development and physiology of individual organisms, the upper and lower mortality limits can be determined. g. Through the study of genetic changes in a species, the process of evolution can be understood to a greater depth. 7. Ecologists: Use observations and experiments to test explanations for the distribution and abundance of species BIOSPHERE

1. Organisation of life All ecosystems on planet Earth together


Biosphere 2. Biosphere: Finite and extremely diverse (Total of all earth) 3. Encompasses all the layers, air, water and soil, from the base of the ocean to the atmosphere (<15 km from the surface of the Earth) 4. Organisms are distributed according to fixed patterns that are clearly seen on the global scale as large and stable vegetation zones (biomes) 5. The interaction between organism and their environments determine the distribution and abundance of organism. 6. Based on the hierarchy or organization of life, ecology is a study of biological organization levels that are higher than individual organisms, that is, populations, communities, ecosystems and biospheres. ECOSYSTEM 1. An ecosystem is an open system 2. Energy flows from its source to produce an output of heat energy

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3. Nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, water are recycled (biogeochemical cycles) 4. Physically, an ecosystem can be divided into various parts inhabited by specific types of individual organisms. 5. These parts of an ecosystem are called habitats or microhabitats if the parts are small. 6. Those are dominated by large trees as climax vegetation. 7. There are many methods of classification of or biomes. One such method is based on the plant species that dominates a geographic. 8. Biotic Components: The term life refers to all activities carried out by a living thing (organism).The general characteristics of all organisms are the ability to breathe, eat, metabolize, excrete, respond, move, reproduce and grow. 9. Biotic components (plant and animal components) and abiotic component (physical factors) that mutually interact and function together to form natural system that is balanced and stable. Biotic Factor a. Plants prepare a base for animal communities whose composition and distribution are influenced by food chains and other requirement for shelter and place for reproduction. Two directional relationship: Pollination dispersion and inorganic nutrient (through biogeochemical cycles) Plants are pioneers that prepare and develop an environment for eventual habitation called invaders. Rarely: Bird dropping paves the way for colonization of stones by lichens. b. Man, industrial and agricultural activities influence the composition and structure of plant and animal communities. Use a lot of insecticides and herbicides interrupt the biological equilibrium. Abiotic Factors a. The most important abiotic factors that determine the biospheres structure and dynamics include: solar energy water temperature Disturbances such as fires, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions are also abiotic factors. ABIOTIC FACTOR Atmospheric gases Wind Fire

BIOTIC FACTORS Man Competitors Predators

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Parasites

Sunlight Temperature Relative humidity Length of day Aspect Chemical nature of water & soil Stones and rock Salinity Wave action

POPULATION 1. Organism (the lowest level) the basic unit in the biotic 2. A group of individual occupying a particular habitat. (Collective group of organisms of any type or similar species that live in a specific area) 3. Each population has characteristics unique to it and is not found in individuals in any other population. Include density, natality rate, mortality rate, age distribution, biotic distribution potential and growth form. 4. Has a genetic characteristic that is directly related to its ecological adaptations, reproductive compatibility and the ability to survive. 5. E.g. Populations of Rhizophora sp in a mangrove swamp. COMMUNITY 1. Community is a natural collection or group of all the populations of living organisms which interact with one another in a specific physical habitat. 2. The community represents one organized unit that has other characteristics in addition to the characteristics of each individual and the population that it is a part of. 3. Climax community: Characterised by general equilibrium in energy flow and a steady production. 4. Major community: Community that has an organization that is large and complete, and independent. BIOME 1. Units of communities that occupy wide geographic zones and that show similarities in plant and animal relationships as well as similarities in the structures of the communities 2. Units of communities that are large and easily recognized and are a result of interactions between the climate and the biotic and abiotic components in the environment. 3. In a specific biome, the biotic form of the climatic climax vegetation is uniform. 4. For example, the climatic climax vegetation in the grassland biome in grass, although the dominant species probably differs in different parts or areas in that biome.

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5. Others biomes: Tropical rainforest, tundra, temperate, grassland, desert, savanna, taiga and northern coniferous.

MAN 1. 2. 3. 4. Human activities affect all parts of the biosphere One example is the widespread use of chemicals pesticide abuse. Technology and the population explosion Deforestation: Tropical rain forest 5. Over hunting Biodiversity crisis: Rapid loss of species 6. Green house effect (atmospheric warming). INTERACTION BETWEEN THE BIOTIC COMPONENTS

1. Autotrophs: comprise all photo-synthesising plants that manufacture


complex organic substances from simple inorganic substances through fixation of solar energy. Autotrophs = producers 2. Heterotrophs: comprise all animals and components saprophytes which cannot manufacture their own food but are dependent on, plants, whether directly or indirectly, for their food. Heterotrophs = consumer 3. Consumers: a. Herbivores: consume plants directly, for example insects and snail b. Carnivores: consume other animals c. Omnivores: consume both plants d. Detrivores: consume dead parts

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e. Decomposers: decompose organic matter to release inorganic nutrients; bacteria and fungi. 6. In an ecosystem, all producer consumers mutually depend on and interact with one another through the food chain and food web. REGIONAL CLIMATE INFLUENCES THE DISTRIBUTION OF BIOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES 1. Climate often determines the distribution of communities 2. Earths global climate patterns are largely determined by the input of solar energy and the planets movement in space 3. Most climatic variations are due to the uneven heating of Earths surface. 4. The seasons of the year result from the permanent tilt of the plant on its axis as it orbits the sun. 5. The tropics experience the greatest annual input and least seasonal variation in solar radiation. 6. Warm, moist air at the equator rises 7. They cool and descend again at latitudes of about 30 north and south. 8. Prevailing winds result from the combined effects of the rising and falling of air masses and Earths rotation. 9. Ocean currents have a profound effect on regional climates by warming or cooling coastal areas. 10.Local high temperatures for August 6, 2000, in Southern California 11.Landforms, such as mountains, can affect local climate.

ORGANISMS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

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1. The environment of any organism includes:


- Abiotic, or nonliving components - Biotic, or living components - All the organisms living in the environment, the biota Interactions between organisms and the environment limit the distribution of species Many neutralists began to identify broad patterns of distribution by naming biogeographic realms Biogeography: Provides a good starting point for understanding what limits the geographic distribution of species Natural range expansions show the influence of dispersal on distribution: a. Behavior and habitat Selection Some organisms: Do not occupy all of their potential range Species distribution: May be limited by habitat selection behavior b. Biotic Factors Biotic factors that affect the distribution of organisms may include: Interactions with other species Predation Competition A specific case of an herbivore limiting distribution of a food species EXPERIMENT:

2.

3. 4. 5.

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c. Abiotic Factors: Abiotic factors that affect the distribution of


organisms may include: i. Environmental temperature: Is an important factor in the distribution of organisms because of its effects on biological processes Very few organisms can maintain an active metabolism at very high or very low temperatures. Some organisms have extraordinary adaptations to allow them to live outside the temperature range habitable for most other living things. ii. Water: Water availability among habitats is another important factor in species distribution Most aquatic organisms are restricted to either freshwater or marine environments. Terrestrial organisms face a nearly constant threat of desiccation and have adaptations to allow them to obtain and conserve water. iii. Sunlight: Light intensity and quality sunlight provides the energy that drives nearly all ecosystems. Intensity of light is not the most important factor limiting plant growth in most terrestrial environments, although shading by a forest canopy makes competition for light in the under story intense.

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In aquatic environments, light intensity limits distribution of photosynthetic organisms. Every meter of water depth selectively absorbs 45% of red light and 2 % ofblue light passing through it. As a result, most photosynthesis in aquatic environments occurs near the surface. Photoperiod, the relative length of daytime and night time, is a reliable indicator of seasonal events and is an important cue for the development or behavior of many organisms.

iv.

Wind: Amplifies the effects of temperature on organisms by increasing heat loss due to evaporation and convection. Can change the morphology of plants. It also increases water loss by increasing the rate of evaporative cooling in animals and transpiration in plants.

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v.

Rocks and soil: The physical structure, Ph, and mineral composition of soils and rocks limit distribution of plants and, thus, of the animals that feed upon them, contributing to the patchiness of terrestrial ecosystems. In streams and rivers, substrate composition can affect water chemistry, affecting distribution of organisms. In marine environments, the structure of substrates in the intertidal areas or seafloor limits the organisms that can attach to or burrow in those habitats.

CLIMATE

1. Four major abiotic components make up climate Temperature, water,


sunlight, and wind 2. Climate: Is the prevailing weather conditions in a particular area. 3. Climate patterns can be described on two scales: Macrolimate: patterns on the global, regional, and local level. Microlimate: very fine patterns, such as those encountered by the community of organisms underneath a fallen log. 4. Global climate patterns (Earths global climate patterns) Are determined largely by the input of solar energy and the planets movement in space. The suns warming effect on the atmosphere, land and water establishes the temperature variations, cycles of air movement, and evaporation of water that are responsible for latitudinal variations in climate.

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Sunlight intensity plays a major part in determining the Earths climate patterns. Air circulation and wind patterns play major parts in determining the Earths climate patterns. 5. Seasonal variation in sunlight intensity:

i. ii. iii. iv.

June solstice: Northern Hemisphere tilts toward sun; summer begins in Northern Hemisphere; winter begins in Southern Hemisphere. March equinox: Equator faces sun directly; neither pole tilts toward sun; all regions on Earth experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. September equinox: Equator faces sun directly; neither pole tilts toward sun; all regions on Earth experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. December solstice: Northern Hemisphere tilts away from sun; winter begins in Northern Hemisphere; summer begins in Southern Hemisphere.

6. Regional, Local, and Seasonal Effects on Climate: i. Various features of the landscape:
- Contribute to local variations in climate - Ocean currents influence climate along the coast by heating or cooling overlying air masses, which may pass over land. - Coastal regions are generally moister than inland areas at the same latitude.

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- In general, oceans and large lakes moderate the climate of nearby terrestrial environments. - In certain regions, cool, dry ocean breezes are warmed when they move land, absorbing moisture and creating a hot, rainless climate slightly inland. - This Mediterranean climate pattern occurs inland from the Mediterranean Sea. - Bodies of Water: Oceans and their currents, and large lakes Moderate the climate of nearby terrestrial environments. - Mountains have a significant effect on the amount of sunlight reaching an area Local temperature; Rainfall - As moist air moves in off the Pacific Ocean and encounters the westernmost mountains, it flows upward, cools at higher altitudes, and drops a large amount of water. The worlds tallest trees, the coastal redwoods, thrive here. - Father inland, precipitation increases again as the air moves up and over higher mountains. Some of the worlds deepest snow packs occur here. - On the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, there is little precipitation. As a result of this rain shadow, much of central Nevada is desert.

ii.

Sunlight: - Have a significant effect on the amount of sunlight reaching an area, as well as on local temperature and rainfall. - In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing slopes receive more sunlight than north-facing slopes, and are therefore warmer and drier.

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iii.

iv.

- These environmental differences affect species distribution. Temperature: - At any given latitude, air temperature declines 6 C with every 1,000-m increase in elevation. - This temperature change as is equivalent to that caused by an 880-km increase in latitude. Rainfall: - Moist, warm air approaches a mountain; it rises and cools, releasing moisture on the windward side of the peak. - On the leeward side of the mountain, cool, dry air descends, absorbing moisture and producing a rain shadow. - Desert commonly occur on the leeward side of mountain ranges.

Seasonality: The angle of the sun - Leads to many seasonal changes in local environments - Belts of wet and dry air on either side of the equator shift with the changing angle of the sun, producing marked wet and dry seasons around: latitude 20. - Seasonal changes in wind patterns produce variations in ocean currents, occasionally causing the upwelling of nutrient-rich, cold water from deep ocean layers. 7. Lakes are also sensitive to seasonal temperature changes and experience seasonal turnover: i. During the summer and winter, many temperate lakes are thermally stratified or layered vertically according to temperature. ii. These lakes undergo a semiannual mixing, or turnover, of their waters in spring and fall. Turnover brings oxygenated water to the bottom and nutrient-rich water to the surface.

v.

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iii.

In winter, the coldest water in the lake (oC) lies just below the surface ice; water is progressively warmer at deeper levels of the lake, typically 4-5 oC at the bottom. iv. In spring, as the sun melts the ice, the surface water warms to 4 oC and sinks below the cooler layers immediately below, eliminating the thermal stratification. Spring winds mix the water to great depth, bringing oxygen (O2) to the bottom waters (see graphs) and nutrients to the surface. v. In autumn, as surface water cools rapidly, it sinks below the underlying layers, remixing the water until the surface begins to freeze and the winter temperature profile is reestablished. vi. In summer, the lake regains a distinctive thermal profile, with warm surface water separated from cold bottom water by a narrow vertical zone of rapid temperature change, called a thermo cline. At lake of summer the surface populations are limited by lack of nutrients, while those at the bottom are limited by lack of oxygen.

8. Microclimate:
Is determined by fine-scale differences in abiotic factors Forest trees moderate the microclimate beneath them. Cleared areas experience greater temperature extremes than the forest interior. A log or large stone shelters organisms, buffering them from temperature and moisture fluctuations.

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Every environment on Earth is characterized by a mosaic of small-scale differences in abiotic factors that influence the local distribution of organisms.

9. Long-Term Climate Changes:

One way to predict future global climate change is to look back at the changes that occurred previously. Long-term climate changes profoundly affect the biosphere. One way to predict possible effects of current climate changes is to consider the changes that have occurred in temperate regions since the end of the last Ice Age. Until about 16,000 years ago, continental glaciers covered much of North America and Eurasia. As the climate warmed and the glaciers melted, tree distribution expanded northward. A detailed record of these migrations is captured in fossil pollen in lake and pond sediments. If researchers can determine the climatic limits of current geographic distributions for individual species, they can predict how that species distribution will change with global warming. A major question for tree species is whether seed dispersal is rapid enough to sustain the migration of the species as climate changes. Consider the American beech, Fagus grandifolia:

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a. Climate models predict that the northern and southern limit of the beechs range will move 700-900 km north over the next century. b. The beech will have to migrate 7-9 km per year to maintain its distribution. c. However, since the Ice Age, the beech has migrated into its present rage at a rate of only 0.2 km per year. d. Without human assistance, the beech will become extinct. 10. Abiotic and biotic factors influence the structure and dynamics of aquatic biomes: Varying combinations of both biotic and abiotic factors: determine the nature of Earths many biomes Biomes: are the major types of ecological associations that occupy broad geographic regions of land or water for their predominant vegetation. Stratification: is an important feature of terrestrial biomes. EXERCISE

1. A natural unit, composed of living and non-living components, whose


interactions result in a stable, but not static, self-perpetuating system, is an example of A. autecology. B. an ecosystem. C. a biome. D. a biosphere. 2. Competition between species will be greatest if they attempt to occupy the same A. community. B. ecosystem. C. niche. D. habitat. 3. A. B. C. D.

[AS/APR 2006/BIO200]

[AS/APR 2006/BIO200]

The best definition of population density is the number of individuals of all species in a given area. the number of individuals of one species in a given area. the number of individuals of one species in a given area at a given time. the number of individuals of all species in a given area at a given time.

[AS/APR 2006/BIO200]

4. The totality of an organism's adaptations, its use of resources, and the


lifestyle to which it is fitted are all embodied in the term A. ecosystem. B. community. C. food web. D. niche. 5. All of the organisms in a particular area make up a A. food chain.

[AS/APR 2007/BIO200]

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B. population. C. community. D. niche.


[AS/APR 2007/BIO200]

6. Ecology comprises of many sub-disciplines, moving from lowest to the


highest complexity. A branch which focuses the interactions between species within ecological community is called A. behavioral ecology. B. population ecology. C. landscape ecology. D. community ecology. 7. Which of the following is BEST describing niche? A. The sum total of all the ways an organism utilizes the resources in its environment. B. The space and resource utilization of an organism. C. The profession of an organism. D. The area that a species is capable of using based on its physiological requirements and resource needs.
[AS/APR 2008/BIO200]

[AS/APR 2008/BIO200]

8. Name four abiotic components of an ecosystem. (2 marks)

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[AS/OCT 2006/BIO200]

9. Using suitable examples of organism, briefly describe how each of them


has adapted to abiotic factor mentioned above, in its environment. (8 marks)

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[AS/OCT 2006/BIO200]

Biomes, community, producers, consumers a. Biomes [definition] b. Factors influencing environments and habitats abiotic and biotic factors c. Community ecology Producers and consumers Niche realized and fundamental niche, limiting resources, abiotic factors an biotic factors Interspecific competition

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Behaviors of both predators and prey Symbiosis mutualism, commensalisms, parasitism and examples Ecological succession primary succession and secondary succession [TERM: niche, interspecific competition, intraspecific competition, mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, & examples of each] ~Campbell,Reece (2008), 8th edition, Benjamin Cummings (Pg:1152-1155) d. Energy flow in ecosystem Food chain and food webs Ecological pyramids pyramid of numbers, pyramid of biomass and pyramid of energy

[labeled diagrams and examples] ~Campbell,Reece (2008), 8th edition, Benjamin Cummings (Pg:1228-1230)

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