ecology full notes - The Web of Life Ecology Definition of Ecology The scientific interactions between organisms and their environment o E.g sidewalk

ecology full notes - The Web of Life Ecology Definition of...

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The Web of Life : Ecology 10/12/2014 ° Definition of Ecology The scientific interactions between organisms and their environment o E.g. sidewalk and corn field ° Organisms are important part of one another’s environment The scientific study of interactions that determine the distribution (geographic location) and abundance of organisms. o Why organisms happen to be one area when they are not in another? o Why some organism are more successful in some area in terms of population ? ° Other meanings in public usage o Differs from environmental activism and environmental science (solution to environmental problems) o Environmental science is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates concepts from the natural sciences (including ecology) and the social sciences Focused on how people affect the environment and how we can address the environmental problems General Misconceptions Balance of nature – natural systems are stable and tend to return to original preferred state after disturbance o Not always the case o Communities and ecosystems are dynamic (always changing) o We would end up with different end point after disturbance o Some predictable patterns but we cannot always predict the exact outcome ; random factor Each species has a distinct role to play in maintaining that balance o Not necessarily o Many species are similar
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o A lot of redundancy in ecosystem and community; even if we loose one species, nothing would happen to the whole system o Some species are a lot more important than others in terms of how the system functions o The different species in an area often respond in different ways to changing conditions. ° ° 7 Ecological Maxims (guiding principles) 1. Organism interact and are interconnected (interaction) Connections could be relatively weak because the communities are complex Organism interact with on another and with their physical environment. As a result, events in nature are connected, and what affects one organism or place can effect others as well. 2. Everything goes somewhere any production, energy, and release of nutrients all end up in somewhere there is no “away” into which waste materials disappear. 3. No population can increase in size forever What is the limit imposed on the population ? There are limits to the growth and resources use of every population, including humans. 4. Finite energy and resources result in tradeoffs Any decision that organisms might make has another consequence. E.g. Super organisms that outcompete others must have some way that is overcompensated and weak in another area. An organism’s energy and resources are finite, and increasing inputs into one function (such as reproduction) results in a trade-off in which there is a loss for other functions (such as growth) 5. Organisms evolve Adaptation and Natural selection o Adaptation: a characteristic that improves survival or reproduction The process that makes organisms better suited to their habitat
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