chapter 52 outline - ZabrinaA.Maultsby April20,2010...

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Zabrina A. Maultsby April 20, 2010 Biology II Chapter 52  An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere  Outline  Overview: The Scope of Ecology Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. Concept 52.1 Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and the  environment Ecologists ask questions about factors affecting the distribution and abundance of organisms. Ecologists might study how interactions between organisms and the environment affect the number of species living in an area, the cycling of nutrients, or the growth of populations. Ecology and evolutionary biology are closely related sciences. Ecology has a long history as a descriptive science. Modern ecology is also a rigorous experimental science. Ecology and evolutionary biology are closely related sciences. Events that occur over ecological time (minutes to years) translate into effects over evolutionary time (decades to millennia). o For example, hawks feeding on field mice kill certain individuals (over ecological time), reducing population size (an ecological effect), altering the gene pool (an evolutionary effect), and selecting for mice with fur color that camouflages them in their environment (over evolutionary time). Ecological research ranges from the adaptations of individual organisms to the  dynamics of the biosphere. The environment of any organism includes the following components: o Abiotic components: nonliving chemical and physical factors such as temperature, light, water, and nutrients. o Biotic components: all living organisms in the individual’s environment. Ecology can be divided into a number of areas of study. Organismal ecology is concerned with the behavioral, physiological, and morphological ways individuals interact with the environment.
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A population is a group of individuals of the same species living in a particular geographic area. Population ecology examines factors that affect population size and composition. A community consists of all the organisms of all the species that inhabit a particular area. Community ecology examines the interactions between species and considers how factors such as predation, competition, disease, and disturbance affect community structure and organization. An ecosystem consists of all the abiotic factors in addition to the entire community of species that exist in a certain area. Ecosystem ecology studies energy flow and cycling of chemicals among the various abiotic and biotic components. A landscape or seascape consists of several different ecosystems linked by exchanges of energy, materials, and organisms. Landscape ecology deals with arrays of ecosystems and their arrangement in a geographic region.
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