Outline of Biome Bonaza Topics Properties of grasslands and forests biomes. Identify and analyze the functions of organisms within the population of the ecosystem i. Producers ii. Consumers iii. Decomposers An ecosystem's capacity to support life based on certain characteristics i. Light ii. Temperature iii. Nutrients The interaction of organisms within an ecosystem i. Food webs and/or chains ii. Predator, prey interaction iii. Symbiotic Relationships 1. Mutualism 2. Commensalism 3. Parasitism 2
Life: An Overview Life is organized into levels: Organism > any single living thing Population > members of the same species living in one place Community > all the populations living in an area Ecosystem > community living in a similar habitat such as a forest) Biomes > ecosystems covering wide areas with similar climates and organisms Biosphere> all the living and nonliving things on earth 3
What Is Ecology? Ecology is the relationship of living things to each other and to what’s around them. So, if you are learning about what kinds of relationships fish have with other animals (including us!) and plants in their neighborhood, then you are learning about ecology. The word ECOLOGY comes from Greek words meaning “study of the household.” That means that ecology is the study of the “household” of living things: their neighbors and neighborhood. Ecology includes not only how living things interact with each other, but how they interact with their physical environment: things such as climate, water, and soil. Some ecologists (scientists who study ecology) study a specific species or habitat. They might study the behavior of a single species to see how it interacts with other organisms and the environment. Or, an ecologist might study many different species that either depend on each other (a food web, for example), or compete with each other for food and space. 4
What is a Biome? A biome is an ecosystem containing plant and animal species that are characteristic to a specific geographic region. For example, the ecosystems of northern Canada and Russia have similar plant and animal life, temperature, and amount of sunlight. They combine to make up the taiga (or coniferous) biome. The nature of a biome is determined primarily by climate, including a region's annual average temperature and amount of rainfall. Biomes are often named for the vegetation found within them. They can be classified as -Aquatic (water) -Terrestrial (land) 5
Forest and Grassland Biomes Terrestrial ecosystems are found everywhere apart from water bodies. Location usually dependent on the latitude of the area, and amount of precipitation The Forest Ecosystem These are the ecosystems where abundance of flora (plants) is seen and they have a large number of organisms living in relatively small areas. Therefore, the density of life in forest ecosystems is very high. Any small change in the ecosystem can affect the whole balance and collapse the ecosystem. You can see wonderful diversity in the fauna (wildlife/animals) of these ecosystems too. The Grassland Ecosystem Grasslands are found in both temperate and tropical regions of the world but the ecosystems are slightly varying. This area mainly comprises of grasses with very little amount of shrubs and trees. Main vegetation is grasses, legumes and plants belonging to composite family. Many grazing animals, herbivores and insectivores are found in grasslands. 7
Forest Biomes Forests are separated into: Tropical rainforest Temperate forest Chaparral (aka Taiga (aka boreal or coniferous) 8
Function of Organisms An ecosystem or BIOME is made up of living things (biotic) such as plants and animals and non-living things (abiotic) such as soil and water. All the living and non-living components interact with each other. Ecosystems can achieve balance or equilibrium. However, a change to any one element of this integrated system will have an impact on many other parts of the system. Disruption to this balance can be the result of natural events, but may also be caused by human activity. Biotic factors includes plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. They may be producers, consumers, or decomposers. Abiotic factors include climate, soil/nutrients, temperature, water, air, sunlight, humidity, pH, and atmospheric gases. 10 All living and non-living elements found within a forest interact and play a part in maintaining ecosystem balance. These interactions can be interrelationships between the plants, animals, soils, topography (or terrain/land) and climate within the area.
Function of Organisms: Biotic Factors Sunlight provides the energy that flows throughout an ecosystem; however, animals cannot directly convert sunlight into energy. They rely on plants. Plants are producers of energy. They are responsible for converting sunlight into energy through a process called photosynthesis. Every living organism depends on this process for their energy. The forest ecosystem is therefore made up of complex food chains and food webs, with forest plants playing an essential role. Animals are consumers who are unable to gain their energy directly from the sun. They must access energy by consuming either producers or other consumers. Primary consumers are those that eat plants, while secondary and tertiary consumers are animals that may prey on other animals for energy. Organisms that break down dead plant and animal materials are called decomposers. Energy can be transferred to soils and made available to plants as nutrients. The illustration shows the sun providing light energy that is converted by plants during photosynthesis into energy that can be consumed by animals such as insects, birds and marsupials. These animals can then be eaten by secondary and tertiary consumers, further transferring the energy. Decomposers such as fungi and earthworms break down dead plan and animal material, allowing plants to draw nutrients from the soil 11
Function of Organisms: Biotic Factors Producers: Are organisms that use the Sun's energy to make their own food (all plants). Producers are the beginning of a simple food chain. Producers are plants and vegetables. Plants are at the beginning of every food chain that involves the Sun. All energy comes from the Sun and plants are the ones who make food with that energy. They use the process of photosynthesis. Plants also make loads of other nutrients for other organisms to eat. Consumers: Some organisms must get energy by eating other organisms. Consumers are the next link in a food chain. There are three levels of consumers. – primary consumers = organisms that eat plants. They are also called herbivores. They are the plant eaters of the chain. It might be a squirrel or it might be an elk. It will be out there eating plants and fruits. It will not eat animals. – Secondary consumers eat the primary consumers. A mouse might be a primary consumer and a cat might be the secondary. Secondary consumers are also called carnivores. Carnivore means "meat eater.” – Tertiary consumer (that means third level). These are consumers that eat the secondary and primary consumers. A tertiary consumer could be a wolf that eats the cat and the mouse. There are also consumers called omnivores. Omnivores can either be secondary or tertiary consumers. Humans and bears are considered omnivores: we eat meat, plants, and just about anything. Decomposers: Organisms such as fungi, worms, and bacteria get energy by breaking down nutrients in dead organisms. If you die, they eat you. If you poop, they eat that. If you lose a leaf, they eat it. Whenever something that was alive dies, the decomposers get it. Decomposers break down nutrients in the dead "stuff" and return it to the soil. The producers can then use the nutrients and elements once it's in the soil. The decomposers complete the system, returning essential molecules to the producers. 12
Function of Organisms: Abiotic Factors An ecosystem's capacity to support life based on certain characteristics Light > The sun provides the energy for all living things on Earth. The amount of sunlight an ecosystem receives affects the types of organisms that live in it. This is because the number of plants that can grow depends on the amount of sunlight. Also, the number of plants that grow determines how many animals can live off of the plants. Sunlight also drives all of Earth’s natural systems. This includes the water cycle, which affects how much rainfall an area receives. The amount of sunlight affects the temperature of the area, too. Both of these things affect an ecosystem’s capacity to support life. Temperature > Temperature also affects an ecosystem’s capacity to support life. One reason temperature is so important is because most organisms can carry out their body functions, such as digestion, only in certain temperature ranges. If an area is extremely cold or extremely hot, only organisms that have special adaptations can live there. Temperature is affected by sunlight, but it also depends on altitude. Think of a mountain, you will find different groups or organisms living at the bottom of then mountain than the top of the mountain. This is because the temperature becomes cooler as you travel up the mountain. Since it is so much cooler at the top of the mountain, you may find fewer trees and animals living there than at the bottom. Nutrients > A substance that promotes health and growth in living things. The amount of light, the temperature, and the soil composition (nutrients) determine the number of organisms that an ecosystem can support. These nonliving resources are called limiting factors because they limit the number of organism living in an ecosystem. In ecology, nonliving factors such as water, rainfall, temperature, sunlight, and soil are considered to be limiting factors. 13
Interaction of Organisms 3 Types of Interactions 1.Food Webs, Food Chains and Food/Energy Pyramids FOOD CHAIN follow just one path of energy as animals find food. FOOD WEB show how plants and animals are connected in many ways to help them all survive. ENERGY PYRAMID shows how much energy is is available to each organism at each level of food web. Some energy is used up by the organism at each level on the pyramid. As a result less and less energy is available as you go up. Energy pyramids only have 3 or 4 levels since there is not enough energy to support more. 1.Predator, Prey Interaction 2.Symbiotic Relationships 3 types: When both the organisms involved in the process of biological interaction benefit from each other it is known as mutualism relationship When one of the two organisms involved is benefited from the interaction, while the other remains unaffected, it is known as commensalism relationship. when one organism gets benefited from the interaction at the cost of other organism - which is subjected to harm, it is known as parasitism relationship 14
Interaction of Organisms: Food Chains Food Chain A food chain is the series of organisms showing feeding relationships. A food chain almost always begins with a green plant (producer) which is eaten by an animal (consumer). The arrow means 'is eaten by', and shows the flow of matter and energy along the food chain. There are no decomposers in a food chain. (just one path of energy) A food chain is one single path, but in the real world there is not a straight path, but rather a web of paths. This is because many animals do not consume only one type of plant or animal. A food web is made up of interlocking food chains. 15 FOOD CHAINS FOLLOW A SINGLE PATH AS ANIMALS EAT EACH OTHER. EXAMPLE: THE SUN provides food for GRASS The GRASS is eaten by a GRASSHOPPER The GRASSHOPPER is eaten by a FROG The FROG is eaten by a SNAKE The SNAKE is eaten by a HAWK.
Interaction of Organisms: Food Webs 16 Food Web A food chain is one single path, but in the real world there is not a straight path, but rather a web of paths. This is because many animals do not consume only one type of plant or animal. A food web is made up of interlocking food chains. Food webs show how plants and animals are interconnected by different paths. Everything is connected! TREES produce ACORNS which act as food for many MICE and INSECTS. Because there are many MICE, WEASELS and SNAKES have food. The insects and the acorns also attract BIRDS, SKUNKS, and OPOSSUMS. With the SKUNKS, OPPOSUMS, WEASELS and MICE around, HAWKS, FOXES, and OWLS can find food. They are all connected! Like a spiders web, if one part is removed, it can affect the whole web.
Interaction of Organisms: Energy Pyramids An energy pyramid shows how much energy is is available to each organism at each level of food web. Some energy is used up by the organism at each level on the pyramid. As a result less and less energy is available as you go up. Energy pyramids only have 3 or 4 levels since there is not enough energy to support more. 17
Interaction of Organisms: Predator-Prey Interaction Interactions in which one organism consumes all or part of another. This includes predator-prey, herbivore-plant, and parasite-host interactions. 1.A predator is an organism that eats another organism. The prey is the organism which the predator eats. Some examples of predator and prey are lion and zebra, bear and fish, and fox and rabbit. The words "predator" and "prey" are almost always used to mean only animals that eat animals, but the same concept also applies to plants: Bear and berry, rabbit and lettuce, grasshopper and leaf. 2.Predator and prey evolve together. The prey is part of the predator's environment, and the predator dies if it does not get food, so it evolves whatever is necessary in order to eat the prey: speed, stealth, camouflage (to hide while approaching the prey), a good sense of smell, sight, or hearing (to find the prey), immunity to the prey's poison, poison (to kill the prey) the right kind of mouth parts or digestive system, etc. Likewise, the predator is part of the prey's environment, and the prey dies if it is eaten by the predator, so it evolves whatever is necessary to avoid being eaten: speed, camouflage (to hide from the predator), a good sense of smell, sight, or hearing (to detect the predator), thorns, poison (to spray when approached or bitten), etc. 3.The fastest lions are able to catch food and eat, so they survive and reproduce, and gradually, faster lions make up more and more of the population. The fastest zebras are able to escape the lions, so they survive and reproduce, and gradually, faster zebras make up more and more of the population. An important thing to realize is that as both organisms become faster to adapt to their environments, their relationship remains the same: because they are both getting faster, neither gets faster in relation to the other. This is true in all predator-prey relationships. 18
19 Mutualism: Two species provide resources or services to each other enhances fitness of both species. A mutual relationship is when two organisms of different species "work together," each benefiting from the relationship. -Flowers and their pollinators (bees and hummingbirds gather nectar and spread pollen) -Birds and mammals eat berries and fruits while the plant benefits by the dispersal of it seeds. -Cleaners eat insect pests from the skin of animals. (Egyptian plover cleans giraffes and buffaloes) -Many herbivores such as cows, sheep, deer, horses and rabbits depend on bacteria that live in their stomachs to break down the plant material. Commensalism: one species receives a benefit from another species enhances fitness of one species; no effect on fitness of the other species Parasitism: A parasitic relationship is one in which one organism, the parasite, lives off of another organism, the host, harming it and possibly causing death. The parasite lives on or in the body of the host. Tapeworms are segmented flatworms that attach themselves to the insides of the intestines of animals such as cows, pigs, and humans. They get food by eating the host's partly digested food, depriving the host of nutrients. Fleas harm their hosts, such as dogs, by biting their skin, sucking their blood, and causing them to itch. The fleas, in turn, get food and a warm home. Usually, although parasites harm their hosts, it is in the parasite's best interest not to kill the host, because it relies on the host's body and body functions, such as digestion or blood circulation, to live. Interaction of Organisms: Symbiotic Relationships