52_Lecture_Post - An Introduction to Ecology and the...

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An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere The rediscovery of the nearly extinct harlequin toad in Costa Rica raises many ecological questions What environmental factors limit their geographic distribution? What factors (food, pathogens) affect population size? Figure 52.1 What threatens this amphibian’s survival?
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Overview: Discovering Ecology Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment These interactions determine distribution of organisms and their abundance Modern ecology includes observation and experimentation
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The Scope of Ecological Research Ecologists work at levels ranging from individual organisms to the planet Global ecology Landscape ecology Ecosystem ecology Community ecology Population ecology Organismal ecology
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Global Ecology The biosphere is the global ecosystem, the sum of all the planet’s ecosystems Global ecology examines the influence of energy and materials on organisms across the biosphere
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Landscape Ecology A landscape or seascape is a mosaic of connected ecosystems Landscape ecology focuses on the exchanges of energy, materials, and organisms across multiple ecosystems
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Ecosystem Ecology An ecosystem is the community of organisms in an area and the physical factors with which they interact Ecosystem ecology emphasizes energy flow and chemical cycling among the various biotic and abiotic components
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Community Ecology A community is a group of populations of different species in an area Community ecology deals with the whole array of interacting species in a community
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Population Ecology A population is a group of individuals of the same species living in an area Population ecology focuses on factors affecting population size over time
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