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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 52 An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere Overview: The Scope of Ecology • Ecology – the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment. • These interactions determine distribution of organisms and their abundance • Ecology reveals the richness of the biosphere The Scope of Ecological Research • Ecologists work at levels ranging from individual organisms to the planet • Organismal ecology- studies how an organism’s structure, physiology, and behavior meet environmental challengers. • Population ecology- focuses on factors affecting how many individuals of a species live in an area • A population is a group of individuals of the same species living in an area • Community ecology deals with the whole array of interacting species in a community • Predator-Prey • Parasitism • Grazing • A community is a group of populations of different species in an area • Ecosystem ecology-emphasizes energy flow and chemical cycling among biotic/abiotic components • An ecosystem is the community of organisms in an area and the physical factors with which they interact • Landscape ecology deals with arrays of ecosystms and how they are arranged in a geographic region • A landscape is a mosaic of connected ecosystems • Global ecology examines the influence of energy and materials on organisms across the biosphere. • The biosphere is the global ecosystem, the sum of all the planet’s ecosystems Concept 52.1: Ecology integrates all areas of biological research and informs environmental decision making • Ecology has a long history as a descriptive science(oberservations and experimentation) • It is also a rigorous experimental science • Events that occur in ecological time affect life on the scale of evolutionary time(how adaptations to an evironment evolve by interaction with species • Ecology provides the scientific understanding that underlies environmental issues Concept 52.2: Interactions between organisms and the environment limit the distribution of species • Ecologists have long recognized global and regional patterns of distribution of organisms within the biosphere • Biogeography is a good starting point for understanding what limits geographic distribution of species • Ecologists recognize two kinds of factors that determine distribution: biotic, or living factors , and abiotic factors, or nonliving factors • Ecologists consider multiple factors when attempting to explain the distribution of species Dispersal and Distribution • Dispersal the movement of individuals away from centers of high population density or from their area of origin...
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2011 for the course BIO 1510 taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '07 term at Georgia Tech.
- Spring '07