Lab 4 - Keystone%20Predator

Lab 4 - Keystone%20Predator - 1 Lab 4 Keystone Predator...

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1 Lab 4 Keystone Predator Community Ecology and Conservation Biology learning Objectives 1. Identify species interactions as mutualism, predation, or competition. 2. Illustrate how changes in the interactions between and among species might directly affect humans. 3. Explain why genetic diversity within an individual can lead to increased fitness of that individual. 4. Define inbreeding depression. 5. Illustrate the process of genetic drift. Pre-laboratory Reading The focus of conservation biology is on the preservation and restoration of natural environments and habitats. Environmental conservation requires bridging the gaps between biology and sociology, environmentalism, law, public affairs, and economics, as well as many other fields of study. This is not an easy task, and often can be controversial. Amidst this controversy, the role of the conservation biologist is mostly to add expertise on the biology and sustainability of ecosystems, that is, the organisms in a particular area as well as non-living components of their environment. A key to understanding ecosystems is an understanding of the science of ecology, the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. In particular, ecologists seek to explain what controls the distribution (geographic extent) and abundance (total population) of species. A major component of a species' environment is other living species, and interactions among different species can take a number of forms that have differing effects on the ecosystem. When populations of two different species both benefit from each other's presence in a system, the relationship is termed a mutualism . The relationship between flowering plants and their pollinators falls into this category, as do relationships between cleaner fish and their "clients" and fungi and algae within lichens. Two species that use the same or similar sets of resources are said to be in competition; in this case, removing one of the two species would cause the remaining species to increase in population size. The interaction between agricultural crops and weeds is a competitive one, as are interactions between two species of large plant-eating animals on a savannah and those between algae growing on ocean-side rocks. When one species uses another as a food source, the interaction is termed predation , with the food source referred to as prey and the hunter as predator. Changes in the relationships among organisms can have profound effects on an ecosystem. For example, the
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Lab 4 - Keystone%20Predator - 1 Lab 4 Keystone Predator...

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