Bio lecture notes 3

Bio lecture notes 3 - Bio 1a 3/13/08 What is ecology? o...

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3/13/08 What is ecology? o Definition: the study of the relationship between an organism(s) and its (their) environment o (Gr) oikos = home; logos = study o two principal questions are asked by biological ecologists Where do organisms live? How many organisms are there? Ecology and evolution o Location tells us something about evolution o Cause of evolutionary change: interaction between organism and its environment o Recall Darwin constantly asking questions about location: distance from mainland, etc = biogeography Biogeography: one of major lines of evidence used to support hypotheses about evolution o Ecological time: events that occur in minutes, months, years, etc. o Evolutionary time: events that take place over decades, centuries, millennia, Etc. o Example: hawk kills field mouse (ecological time), and with enough time (evolutionary time) this translates to selection for colors that camouflage mice. Principal components of environment of organisms o Biotic components All other organisms – they are prey or food Includes humans – though biologist tend not to say so o Abiotic components (nonliving chemical and physical factors): Temperature Water (rain) Light Wind Rocks Soil Interactions between organisms and environment o Determine distribution and abundance o Example of red kangaroos in Australia Illustrates two major questions asked What limits range or distribution? What determines abundance?
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Bio lecture notes 3 - Bio 1a 3/13/08 What is ecology? o...

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