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GEN 2030

Ecology & Sustainable Development

Aliya Nurtaeva, Ph.D., C.Sc.


KIMEP University
Office # 311, anurtaeva@kimep.kz

Lecture 3:
A. Evolution. Species Interactions &
Communities.
B. Biomes & Biodiversity.
Outline

Who Lives Where, and Why?

Species Interactions
Population Dynamics
Community Properties
Biomes & Biodiversity
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Who Lives Where,


and Why?
Generalists vs. Specialists
2 basic strategies for surviving
- in a broad range of environmental conditions:
"generalists.
- in a narrow set of environmental conditions:
"specialists."
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LIMITING FACTORS
The geographical range of a species is
not always limited by the presence of
barriers that prevent its spread.
It is often limited by a particular factor in
the environment that limits it ability to
survive, grow or reproduce
These are Limiting Factors
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Limiting factors:
ABIOTIC
(physical) and BIOTIC (live)

Abiotic Factors
Temperature, Pressure, Wind,
Moisture, Salinity
Light availability /day length
pH, C02, O2, availability of N, P, K, Ca.

Biotic Factors
Competition, Predation
Diseases, Parasitism
Food availability, Pollinators
Species density
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Tolerance Limits

Each environmental factor (temperature, humidity, food


supply, etc.) has both minimum and maximum levels
beyond which a species cannot survive or is unable to
reproduce: lower & upper limits of tolerance.
Tolerance range is the range between these 2 limits.
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Abundance and Distribution of Species


Liebigs Law of
Minimum:
the environmental
factor in the shortest
supply is the critical
one in species
distribution.
LIEBIGs BUCKET
Cactus: 1) dry environment
2) critical factor = T (not freezing)
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Abiotic and biotic factors


define range and
abundance of a species.
Populations can only live
in those areas where the
favourable parts of the
environmental gradients
overlap
Interaction of several
factors, rather than a
single factor, determines
species distribution.
biodiversity hotspot
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Adaptation and Natural Selection


Adaptation - physical or behavioral trait that helps a plant
or animal survive in its habitat.
Two types of adaptation:
Acclimation - changes in an individual organism due
to non-permanent physiological modifications
Evolution - gradual changes in a species due to
changes in genetic material and competition
Natural selection - according to Darwin's theory, the
organisms best adapted to their environment tend to
survive and while less adapted tend to be eliminated.
Theory of evolution - developed by Charles Darwin and
Alfred Wallace.
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Habitat &
Ecological Niche
Habitat - the place or set of
environmental conditions in
which a particular organism
lives
Ecological niche - the role
played by a species in a
biological community
Niche defines:
- way of obtaining food;
- relationships w /other species
- services to the community.
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Competition

for the resources


causes
Resource
Partitioning

Law of Competitive
Exclusion:
No two species will
occupy the same niche
and compete for the
same resources in the
same habitat for very
long.
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Species Interactions

Most obvious are Predation and Competition


- antagonistic relationships
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ADD FIG. 3.18 A-C


Symbiosis: coexistence of 2 species.
3 types of symbiosis:
Commensalism - one member benefits, while the
other is neither benefited nor harmed
Mutualism - both members of the partnership benefit;
Parasitism - a form of predation where one species
benefits and the other is harmed

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Defensive Mechanisms

Poison arrow frog: strong neurotoxin in its skin.


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Batesian Mimicry

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Population Dynamics
Exponential growth - the unrestricted increase
in a population (also called the biotic potential of a
population) - J-curve

Carrying capacity - the maximum number of


individuals of any species that can be supported by
a particular ecosystem on a sustainable basis

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Population Dynamics
Exponential growth - the unrestricted increase
in a population (also called the biotic potential of a
population) - J-curve

Carrying capacity - the maximum number of


individuals of any species that can be supported by
a particular ecosystem on a sustainable basis

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Population Oscillations

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Community Properties
Environmental resistance - factors that
tend to reduce population growth rates
Primary productivity - rate of biomass
production by community
Net primary productivity - primary
productivity minus the energy lost in
respiration
Productivity depends on light, temperature,
moisture, and nutrient availability.
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Abundance and Diversity


Abundance - the number of individuals of a species in
an area

Diversity - the number of different species in an area


A useful measure of the variety of ecological niches or
genetic variation in a community
Decreases as we go from the equator towards the poles

Abundance and diversity depend on total


resource availability in an ecosystem.
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Properties of Ecosystems
Stability (or homeostasis)

- a dynamic equilibrium among the physical


and biological factors in an ecosystem

Resiliency - ability to recover from disturbance


Inertia - resistance to perturbations
Renewal - ability to repair damage after disturbance

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Communities in
Transition
Ecological succession - the process by which
organisms occupy a site and gradually change
environmental conditions by creating soil, shelter,
shade, increasing humidity

Primary succession - occurs when a

community begins to develop on a site previously


unoccupied by living organisms
Secondary succession - occurs when an
existing community is disrupted and a new one
subsequently develops at the site
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Primary Succession
Primary
Succession
on Land

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Exotic & Invasive


Species
Sometimes communities can be completely altered by
the introduction of exotic species.

Exotic species not native to the area


often introduced by humans.
Invasive species cause damage to ecosystem
Successful exotics tend to be prolific, opportunistic
species, such as goats, cats, and pigs.

Invasion of exotic species: a pressing hazard


for biological communities in the coming century.

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Invasive Species &Community Change

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B: Biomes
Biomes
Broadly defined life zones
Environments with similar climates,
topographies, soil conditions, and
biological communities
Biome distribution mainly dependent on
temperature and precipitation
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Main factors of biomes:


T and
precipitation
ADD FIG. 5.1

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Biomes of the World

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Biodiversity
Biodiversity - the variety of living things
3 types essential:
Genetic diversity - variety of different versions of the
same genes within a species
Species diversity - number of different kinds of
organisms within an ecosystem
Ecological diversity - complexity of a biological
community (number of niches, trophic levels, etc.)
~1.8 mln types of species in the world
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Biodiversity Hotspots

Most of the world's biodiversity concentrations are near


the equator (tropical rainforests, coral reefs).

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How do we benefit from


biodiversity?

Food
Drugs and medicines
Mangosteen tasty fruits
Ecological benefits
Aesthetic and cultural benefits
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What Threatens Biodiversity?


Extinction - the elimination of a species
Natural process - one species lost every 10
years
Process been accelerated by human impacts
on populations and ecosystems
We are currently losing thousands of species
a year

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Human-Caused Biodiversity Loss

Habitat destruction
Poaching /Hunting / Fishing
Commercial products
Predator and pest control
Diseases
Pollution
Genetic assimilation
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Saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan

1993 1.3 species


Cold winter 1993: saigas moved to South
Techno-catastrophe in 1995: thousands died
2004 - ~20 thousand
SAIGA: male horns in oriental medicine
1999 ban on shooting
2008 - ~60 thousand

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Protecting Biodiversity
Hunting and fishing laws
Legislation: On protected territories
National Reserves, National Parks
Recovery plans
International wildlife treaties
RED BOOK in Kazakhstan, Russia (IUCN Red List):
1st category: critically endangered
2 category: endangered
3 vulnerable
IUCN International Union of Conservation of Nature
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IUCN Red List

2007 data: % of species, listed as


RED - critically endangered, BROWN - endangered, YELLOW - vulnerable
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QUESTIONS ? ASK ME

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