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Community Ecology Link to course web page. any set of organisms currently living near each other and about which it is interesting to talk Painting by.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Ecology Link to course web page. any set of organisms currently living near each other and about which it is interesting to talk Painting by."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Ecology Link to course web page

2 any set of organisms currently living near each other and about which it is interesting to talk Painting by D. Kaspari for M. Kaspari (2008) – anniversary reflection on MacArthur (1958) Robert H. MacArthurs definition of Community Ecology

3 Historic landmarks Community Ecology Photo from Wikipedia Charles Darwin ( ) Ernst Haeckel ( ) coined oekologie for the study of the multifaceted struggle for existence envisioned by Darwin Certainly not the first ecologist, but clearly recognized the importance of organisms interactions (intraspecific, interspecific & with their abiotic environments) for evolution by natural selection

4 Historic landmarks Community Ecology Photo from Wikipedia Charles Darwin ( ) Recognized the importance of biotic interactions: Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district! (Darwin 1859)

5 Historic landmarks Community Ecology Photo from Wikipedia Charles Darwin ( ) Recognized the importance of abiotic processes, e.g., abiotic disturbance: If turf which has long been mown… be let to grow, the most vigorous plants gradually kill the less vigorous, though fully grown plants; thus out of 20 species growing on a little plot of mown turf (3 feet by 4 feet) nine species perished from the other species being allowed to grow up freely… (Darwin 1859)

6 Historic landmark Community Ecology Photo from UCSB Joseph H. Connell (b. 1923)

7 Patterns – any observable properties of the natural world, often expressed as variable quantities or distributions (since variation characterizes every level of biological organization) Processes – the causal mechanisms that give rise to the patterns See also Watt (1947) Pattern and process in the plant community – J. Ecology Community Ecology Patterns & Processes

8 Processes that determine local community composition (most of which produce community structure that wouldnt be predicted by null models) Redrawn from Morin (1999, pg. 27)

9 Community A Community B What relative contributions do the various processes make (and have made) towards maintaining (and originally creating) differences between communities A and B? Processes that determine local community composition (most of which produce community structure that wouldnt be predicted by null models) Redrawn from Morin (1999, pg. 27)

10 Processes Drift Migration Selection Abiotic environment Biotic interactions (e.g., competition, predation, etc.) Speciation Primary patterns (across space & time) Species diversity Species composition (identity & traits) Species abundances Emergent patterns Productivity Stability Food-web connectance Etc. Redrawn from Vellend & Orrock (in press) Parallels between Population Genetics & Community Ecology These affect biological variants, i.e., alleles or species

11 Local community Regional community Global community Drift Selection Speciation Drift Selection Speciation Drift Selection Speciation Migration Redrawn from Vellend & Orrock (in press) Parallels between Community Ecology & Population Genetics

12 Local community A Regional community Global community Drift Selection Speciation Drift Selection Speciation Drift Selection Speciation Migration Local community B Drift Selection Speciation Redrawn from Vellend & Orrock (in press) Parallels between Community Ecology & Population Genetics Migration

13 Local community A Global community Local community B Parallels between Community Ecology & Evolutionary Theory Roughgarden (2009) Local interactions In a parallel fashion the formational theory of communnity ecology could be: local interactions act upon the species arriving at the communitys boundary to produce a diversity of communities the central narrative of evolutionary theory is that variation originates from random mutation and then natural selection in a local setting acts upon this variation to produce organic diversity Supply-side ecology Supply-side ecology

14 AB Competition - - Influence of species A Influence of Species B + (positive) 0 (neutral/null) - (negative) AB Amensalism 0 - AB Antagonism (Predation/Parasitism) + - AB Commensalism + 0 AB Neutralism (No interaction) 0 0 AB Commensalism 0 + AB Mutualism + + AB Amensalism - 0 AB Antagonism (Predation/Parasitism) Pair-wise species interactions (owing to acquisition or assimilation of resources, etc.) Redrawn from Abrahamson (1989); Morin (1999, pg. 21)

15 To separate Ecology and Evolution into separate disciplines is somewhat artificial Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution (T. Dobzhansky 1973) All organisms interact with other organisms, both conspecific and heterospecific, and their environments; i.e., the evolutionary play takes place within an ecological theater (G. E. Hutchinson 1965) Ecologists and evolutionary biologists must recognize and embrace the complexity of natural ecosystems to understand them, and their components, much as Zen masters recognize and embrace the interconnectedness of the universe (D. P. Barash 1973) Just as is completely separating Community Ecology from other related sub-disciplines


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