Ecology Unit

Ecology Unit

What is ecology? Ecology-the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments, focusing on energy

transfer It is a science of What do you mean by environment? The environment is made up of two factors: Biotic factors- all living organisms inhabiting the

Earth Abiotic factors- nonliving parts of the environment (i.e. temperature, soil, light, moisture, air Biosphere Ecosyste

m Communit y Population Organis m Organism- any unicellular or multicellular form exhibiting all of

the characteristics of life, an individual. The lowest level of organization Population-a group of organisms of one species living in the same place at the same time that interbreed and compete with each other for

resources (ex. food, mates, shelter) Community- several interacting populations that inhabit a common environment and are interdependent. Ecosystem - populations in a

community and the abiotic factors with which they interact (ex. marine, terrestrial) Biosphere- life supporting portions of Earth composed of air, land, fresh water, and salt water. The highest level of

organization The ecological niche of an organism depends not only on where it lives but also on what it does. By analogy, it may be said that the habitat is the organism's address, and the niche is its profession,

biologically speaking. Odum - Fundamentals of Ecology Habitat vs. Niche Niche- the role a species plays in a community (job) Habitat-the place in which an organism lives out its life

(address) Habitat vs. Niche A niche is determined by the tolerance limitations of an organism, or a limiting factor. Limiting factor- any biotic or abiotic factor that restricts the existence of organisms in a

specific environment. Habitat vs. Niche Examples of limiting factors Amount of water Amount of food Temperature Feeding Relationships There are 3 main types of feeding

relationships 1. Producer- Consumer 2. Predator- Prey 3. Parasite- Host Feeding Relationships

Producer- all autotrophs (plants), they trap energy from the sun Bottom of the food chain Feeding Relationships

Consumer- all heterotrophs: they ingest food containing the suns energy Herbivores Carnivores Omnivores Decomposers

Feeding Relationships Consumer-Herbivores-eat plants Primary consumers Prey animals Feeding Relationships Consumer-Carnivores-eat meat

Predators Hunt prey animals for food. Feeding Relationships Consumer-Carnivores- eat meat Scavengers Feed on carrion, dead animals

Feeding Relationships Consumer- Omnivores -eat both plants and animals Feeding Relationships ConsumerDecomposers Breakdown the complex

compounds of dead and decaying plants and animals into simpler molecules that can be absorbed Symbiotic Relationships Symbiosis-two species living together

3 Types of symbiosis: 1. Commensalism 2. Parasitism 3. Mutualism Symbiotic Relationships Commensalism- (+ ?) one species benefits

and the other is neither harmed nor helped Ex. orchids on a tree Ex. polar bears and cyanobacteria Epiphytes: A plant, such as a tropical orchid or a bromeliad, that grows on

another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients. Also called aerophyte, air plant. Symbiotic Relationships Parasitism-(+ -) one species benefits (parasite) and the other is harmed

(host) Parasite-Host relationship Symbiotic Relationships Parasitism- parasite-host Ex. lampreys, leeches, fleas, ticks,tapeworm

Symbiotic Relationships Mutualism-(+ +) beneficial to both species Ex. cleaning birds and cleaner shrimp and lichens

Type of relationship Species harmed Commensali sm Parasitism

Mutualism = 1 species Species benefits Species neutral

Trophic Levels Each link in a food chain is known as a trophic level. Trophic levels represent a feeding step in the transfer of energy and matter in an ecosystem. Trophic Levels Biomass- the amount of

organic matter comprising a group of organisms in a habitat. As you move up a food chain, both available energy and biomass decrease. Energy is transferred

upwards but is Trophic Levels E N E Tertiary consumers

(top carnivores) R Secondary consumers G

(small carnivores) Y L O S S Primary consumers

(Herbivores) Producers (Autotrophs) Trophic Levels Food chain- simple model that shows how matter and energy move through an

ecosystem Grass Grasshopper Snake Hawk

Trophic Levels Food web- shows all possible feeding relationships in a community at each trophic level Represents a network of interconnect ed food chains

Food chain (just 1 path of energy) paths) Food web (all possible energy Nutrient Cycles

Cycling maintains homeostasis (balance) in the environment. 3 cycles to investigate: 1. Water cycle 2. Carbon cycle 3. Nitrogen cycle Water cycleEvaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation

Carbon cyclePhotosynthesis and respiration cycle carbon and oxygen through the environment. Nitrogen cycleAtmospheric nitrogen (N2) makes up nearly 78%-80% of air. Organisms can NOT use it in that form.

Lightning and bacteria convert nitrogen into usable forms. Nitrogen cycleOnly in 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 cycleNitrogen-fixing bacteria: Some live in a

symbiotic relationship with plants of the legume family (e.g., soybeans, clover, peanuts). Nitrogen cycle Some nitrogen-fixing bacteria live free in the soil.

Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria are essential to maintaining the fertility of semi-aquatic environments like rice paddies. Lightning Atmospheri c nitrogen

Nitrogen Cycle Denitrification by bacteria Nitrogen fixing bacteria

Ammonium Animal s Decompose rs Nitrification

by bacteria Plants Nitrites Nitrates Toxins in food chainsWhile energy decreases as it

moves up the food chain, toxins increase in potency. This is called biological magnification Ex: DDT & Bald Eagles

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