Ecology - Mrs.Farmer's Science Buzz

Ecology - Mrs.Farmer's Science Buzz

ECOLOGY ECOLOGY The study of how living things interact with each other and their environments Scientists collect information about organisms and their environments, look for patterns, and then try to explain the patterns All organisms are connected to

another; no organism can exist on its own LEVELS OF ECOLOGICAL ORGANIZATION Biospherethe thin section of Earth & its atmosphere that can support life There are five levels of ecological organization that can be found within Earths biosphere:

Biome Ecosystem Community Population Organism BIOME An area that has a specific type of climate, plants, and animals Can be broken into two groups: Land

Biomes Aquatic Biomes ECOSYSTEM All living and non-living parts of an environment that can be found in one place Biotic factorsliving factors Animals Abiotic

and plants factorsnon-living factors Rocks, soil, sun (ultimate source of energy), etc. COMMUNITY All

interacting organisms in one place Scientists focus on how the organisms interactions affect the entire community POPULATION All of the members of a species in an area All Labrador retrievers in Union is an example of a population

ORGANISM One individual Scientists focus on the adaptations that organisms have that help them to survive in their environments LAND BIOMES Seven

major land biomes: Tropical Rainforest Temperate Forest (Deciduous) Taiga (Boreal Forest) Savanna Temperate Grassland Desert Tundra TROPICAL RAINFOREST

Characterized by tall trees Found near the equator Most productive biome because of the year-round growing season and abundant rainfall TEMPERATE FORESTS Characterized by trees that lose all of their leaves in the fall

Found in regions that have distinct seasons TAIGA A forested biome that has mostly cone-bearing evergreen trees (pines, firs, hemlock, spruce) Plants found in the taiga are adapted for long, cold winters, short summers, and soil with very little nutrients

SAVANNA Tropical or sub-tropical grasslands with scattered trees and shrubs Found in Africa, South America, and Australia Receive more rainfall than deserts, but less than tropical rainforests Characterized by alternating wet and dry seasons Plants and animals must be able to

deal with long periods of drought TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS Dominated by grasses Usually form in the middle of continents, but rainfall patterns make these areas too dry to support trees DESERTS Areas

that receive an average of less than 25 cm of rainfall per year Deserts are not hot all the time Consists mostly of plants and animals that have adapted to the dry climate TUNDRA Cold biome with few trees (if any)

The largest and northernmost biome, covering about 1/5 of the worlds land surface Plants grow slowly and are usually small Animals that live in the tundra are adapted for cold weather, or only come around during the brief summer season LAKES/PONDS Bodies

of fresh water Ponds are shallow enough to support plants with roots; has an almost equal temperature throughout Lakes are deeper than ponds and do not support plants with roots Lake temperatures change throughout and form 3 layerstop, middle, and bottom MARSH Most

are in the southern US (Florida Everglades) Occur on low flat lands with rushes and cattails that stick out of the top of the water Some are salty (called brackish), and some are fresh water SWAMPS Occur on flat, poorly drained

land, often near streams Dominated by woody shrubs Inhabited by amphibians and reptiles (alligators, frogs, etc.) RIVERS Most come from snow melting in the mountains Since the water is moving, plants have to cling to rocks Damaged when industries dump

chemicals into it ESTUARIES Places where rivers empty into the ocean; fresh and salt water mix which causes nutrients to build up there Lots of plants and fish (manatees) People have always dumped wastes and trash into estuaries CORAL REEFS

Limestone ridges built by tiny coral animals called polyps Many colorful fish, sponges, etc. Very fragilepollution, tourists, etc. OCEAN Most of ocean life is concentrated in coastal areas where sunlight can get through

the water Threatened by pollution and over fishing POPULATIONS All the living members of the same species living in the same place Populations have density (number of individuals per unit of area) and dispersion (relative

distribution of individuals) POPULATION GROWTH Growth Rate = Births Deaths Growth rate can be positive, negative or zero Biotic Potentialthe fastest rate at which a population can grow (everyone has as many babies as possible)

POPULATION GROWTH, CONT. Exponential Growthwhen a population doubles its size with every generation Limits: Carrying Capacitythe maximum population size that an ecosystem can support

Limiting Factorsfood, water, space, competition (natural selection) DEMOGRAPHY The study of populations We can forecast population size by: Age Structurethe distribution of ages

Survivorshipthe % of members that are likely to survive Fertility Ratesthe # of babies born each year per 100 females DEMOGRAPHY, CONT. Migrationmovement between areas of individuals Immigrationmoving in

Emigrationmoving out Declining Death Rates: Humans live longer today than they used to due to improved health care, nutrition, and sanitation Life Expectancythe # of years a person is likely to live

Affected by: Infant Mortality Contagious Diseases Epidemics BIODIVERSITY All the different kinds of living things on Earth

We should protect species because: They might have medical, industrial, and agricultural uses They may have ethical, aesthetic, or recreational value Humans Habitat cause extinction by:

Destruction Invasive Species Harvesting, hunting, and poaching Pollution WAYS TO SAVE SPECIES Captive Breeding Programs breeding in captivity then releasing Germ Plasm Banksstoring

sperm and egg cells just in case the species goes extinct Zoos, parks, and gardens Organizations that fight to save species IMPORTANCE OF ENERGY All organisms need energy to live Three categories of organisms: Producers Consumers

Decomposers PRODUCERS Make their own food Photosynthesisprocess used to make food using energy from the sun Chemosynthesisprocess used to make food using energy from chemicals Also called autotrophs

CONSUMERS Eat other consumers or producers for food Also called heterotrophs You can tell what type food a consumer eats based on its teeth: Herbivoreseat plants (flat teeth) Carnivoreseat meat (sharp teeth)

Omnivoreseat both (both kinds of teeth) DECOMPOSERS Break down dead organisms Help to return nutrients to the earth ENERGY PYRAMIDS Triangular

diagrams that show energy lost as heat between trophic levels Producers always form the base level which has the most energy Herbivores make up the second level, and have less energy than producers Carnivores make up the other levels, and have less energy than herbivores Each level up stores about 1/10 the energy of the previous level FOOD CHAINS & FOOD WEBS

Food chains show how energy flows from organism to organism (from one trophic level to another) Food chains only show one feeding relationship within an ecosystem Food webs show all possible feeding relationships within an ecosystem (interconnected food chains) SUCCESSION The

gradual process of change and replacement of the types of species in a community Two kinds: Primary Secondary PRIMARY SUCCESSION Occurs where no ecosystem has ever existed

Example: on rocks, sand dunes, or in abandoned parking lots SECONDARY SUCCESSION Occurs where ecosystems have existed before Example: plowed fields, after a flood, after a tornado Fire Successiona type of secondary succession Important

because some species cant grow without being exposed to fire Example: Jack Pines only release seeds after fire exposure SYMBIOSIS When two organisms live in close association where at least one usually benefits

Six types: Competition Predation Parasitism Mutualism Commensalism Co-evolution COMPETITION When different individuals or populations try to use the same

limited resource Food Water Shelter Mates PREDATION When one organism (predator) feeds on another organism (prey) Hawks

eat squirrels PARASITISM Describes when an organism that lives in or on another organism and feeds on that organism but does not kill its host Ticks them

feed on dogs blood, but do not kill MUTUALISM A close relationship between two species in which both species benefit Humans and the bacteria that lives in their intestines COMMENSALISM

When one species benefits and the other is not affected Sharks and remoras CO-EVOLUTION When two species change as a result of each other

Flower populations change to match the feeding habits of their pollinators CARBON CYCLE The movement of carbon between the atmosphere and land Humans affect the carbon cycle by:

Burning fossil fuels (cars, factories, power plants) Increased CO2 in the atmosphere causes global warming GLOBAL WARMING Gradual increase of the global temperature Caused by increased levels of CO and

2 pollution released into the atmosphere Greenhouse effect contributes to global warming also Heat from the sun warms the Earth; some of the heat gets trapped and cant get out of the atmosphere; causes the global temperature to increase ALTERNATIVE ENERGY

Energy sources not based on burning fossil fuels or nuclear energy Renewable Resourcescan be replaced at the same rate they are used Water, wind, solar, etc. Non-renewable

Resourcescannot be replaced as quickly as they are used Oil, coal, natural gas NITROGEN CYCLE Nitrogen is important because plants need it to function Decomposers break down dead

things, wastes, urine, corpses, etc. and return the nitrogen to soil where plants can use it Acid rain comes from nitric acid in the atmosphere PHOSPHORUS CYCLE Only occurs on land because it rarely occurs as a gas Dead organisms are broken down and phosphorus is put back into

the ground WATER CYCLE Water passes between the Earth and the atmosphere It is constantly recycled

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