Chapter 18 - Chapter34LectureOutline Introduction...

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Chapter 34 Lecture Outline Introduction A Mysterious Giant of the Deep A. The ocean is a very special environment. 1. Exploration of the ocean’s depths requires special submersibles such as Alvin, seen in Figure A. Unusual new species, such as giant squids have been discovered at these depths. Review: Continental drift and the location of crustal plates (Modules 15.3). 2. Off the coast of Baja California between crustal plates, at depths of more than a mile and in complete darkness, hydrothermal vents release hot, nutrient-rich gases (Figure B). 3. Around these vents are groups of organisms, the most obvious of which are large, yard-long tube worms. A variety of other animals, including shrimps, crabs, clams, and a few fishes, also live here (Figure C). 4. Most of the prokaryotes in hydrothermal vents are chemoautotrophs (Module 16.11). Ultimately, all the other organisms depend on the food made by these prokaryotes because energy sources dependent on sunlight never make it in any appreciable quantity to these depths. 5. This setting hints at many of the topics concerning populations, communities, and nutrient cycling that ecologists study. B. Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environments. 1. Dealing with humankind’s gravest biological crises hinges on a firm understanding of ecological principles. 2. This unit starts with an overview of Earth’s different biological settings, details the principles and mechanisms of ecology, and ends with a discussion of the impact of human societies on the biosphere. Module 34.1 Ecologists study how organisms interact with their environment at several levels. Review: The hierarchical organization of life (Module 1.1) and the scientific process (Modules 1.7 and 1.8). A. At the organism level, the focus is on how an individual organism interacts with aspects of its immediate surroundings through either its physiology or behavior (Figure 34.1). B. At the population level, ecologists focus on functioning among all the members of an interbreeding group within a particular geographic area. C. Studies at the community level focus on all the organisms of all species and their interactions within one particular area. D. The ecosystem level of study adds the nonliving factors ( abiotic components, including temperature, energy, water, inorganic nutrients, and other chemicals) to the picture, in addition to relationships among the living factors (biotic components). E. Ecology can be enormously complex because it studies multidimensional problems. Ecological research still employs the scientific process (hypotheses, tests, and observations) but must often
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take into account the complexities produced by the multidimensional nature of ecological interactions. Studies can be done on idealized collections of organisms or environments assembled in artificial setups in the laboratory, or by a careful examination of natural systems. Mathematical and computer models are devised to test large-scale experiments that could not be
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2011 for the course BIOL 10 taught by Professor Kite during the Spring '11 term at Laney College.

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Chapter 18 - Chapter34LectureOutline Introduction...

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