Lab7_Community_Ecology[1]

Lab7_Community_Ecology[1] - Laboratory 7 Ecology BIOLOGY...

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Laboratory 7 Ecology Biology 101L 7-1 BIOLOGY 101L Lab 7: Ecology Objectives (1) Introduction to Ecology (2) Food webs (3) Community structure simulation I. Introduction Ecology has been defined variously as “the study of the interrelationships of organisms with their environment and each other,” as “the economy of nature,” and as “the biology of ecosystems.” In its broadest sense ecology is concerned with the flow of energy and the recycling of nutrients within or between levels of organization. The physical conditions under which organisms exist include temperature, ph, and availability of food and water. Equally important to the survival of the individual are the other organisms in the environment. Ecologists study the effects of predators, competitors, and parasites. During this lab, we will focus on the community level of organization, examining the abiotic, biological components of several distinct ecosystems. The field of ecology that deals with the interactions among populations of species that inhabit the same ecosystem is termed community ecology . Perhaps the most dramatic of the interactions among different species in a community is the” who eats whom” relationship. Ecologists study those interactions under the broad umbrella of food webs. Establishing the feeding habits of individual species, and the patterns in the food web of an area, helps understand the structure of the community. Components of ecosystems A population of organisms is composed of a group of individuals of the same species. A community consists of all the populations of all the species occupying a given area at a given time. Each population plays a different role within its community. Ecosystems have four basic components: The abiotic environment Producers Consumers Decomposers Producers are autotrophic (“self- feeding”) meaning they utilize energy from the sun and nutrients from the biotic environment (carbon dioxide from the air or water, other nutrients from the soil or water) to perform photosynthesis and grow. Producers are generally green plants (those with chlorophyll). Consumers are heterotrophic (“other- feeding”) organisms that feed on other organisms. They include herbivores (plant eaters or primary consumers ), carnivores (meat eaters or secondary consumers ), and parasites (that absorb nutrients from the body fluids of living hosts). An animal that feeds on carcasses of other animals or other organic refuse is termed a scavenger . Decomposers and Detritivores utilize energy from wastes or dead organisms,
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Laboratory 7 Ecology Biology 101L 7-2 and so complete the cycle by returning nutrients to the soil or water, and carbon dioxide to the air and water. II. Trophic levels
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Lab7_Community_Ecology[1] - Laboratory 7 Ecology BIOLOGY...

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