Chapter50IntroductiontoEcology[1] - Chapter 50 Introduction...

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Introduction to Ecology Chapter 50 1 Chapter 50 Introduction to Ecology A. Hunter from C. S. Major I. Ecologists study how organisms interact with their environment at different hierarchical levels. A. Organismal Ecology 1. Focuses on how individual organisms interact with their environment. 2. Organismal ecologists study morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations that allow individuals to be successful in a particular habitat. a. Behavioral studies reveal how an individual responds to stimuli in its environment. b. Physiological studies reveal how individuals thrive in changing environmental conditions. 3. An example of organismal ecology: the sockeye salmon a. Spend 4-5 years eating and growing in the ocean b. Swim hundreds to thousands of miles to return to the stream where they hatched c. Once they breed in that streambed, the adults die. d. Scientists are interested in studying their breeding habits, traits that make them reproductively successful, and how they adapt to the changing environment as they migrate. B. Population Ecology 1. Population -a group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area at the same time. 2. Population ecology seeks to understand how the numbers of individuals in a pop. change over time. a. These studies have helped predict the fate of endangered species. b. For example, population ecology studies have predicted that salmon populations are in danger based on their recent decline due to man-made changes to their environment. C. Community Ecology 1. A biological community consists of the species that interact with one another in a particular area. 2. Community ecologists study the nature and consequence of the interactions between species in a community. 3. Community ecologists are often make predictions about how human actions will affect ecological communities in the future. 4. Example of a community ecology study: Salmon and their neighbors a. Salmon eat smaller fish and are eaten by bigger fish and mammals. b. In both habitats, salmon are affected by disease and parasites as well as human disturbances such as damming and overfishing. D. Ecosystem Ecology 1. An ecosystem consists of all organisms living in a certain area plus all nonliving, abiotic components such as air, water, and soil. 2. Ecosystem ecologists study ecosystem nutrient cycles and energy flows. 3. Because humans are changing the way that nutrients cycle, ecosystem ecology has had particular importance lately. a. Global warming has been particularly important to public policy. b. Ecosystem ecologists are also a key factor in predicting the impact of pollution on Earth and its inhabitants. 4. Sockeye salmon and their ecosystem a. Salmon form a link between marine and freshwater ecosystems as they carry nutrients and energy from one ecosystem to the other. b.
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Chapter50IntroductiontoEcology[1] - Chapter 50 Introduction...

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