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Introduction to Ecology

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1 Introduction to Ecology
Marc Daniels Biology

2 What Is Ecology? Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with the environment The environment consists of abiotic and biotic factors Biotic factors are living factors (other organisms) Abiotic factors are physical, non-living factors Historical Factors help us determine movement of individuals There are 4 different types of ecology

3 Why Do We Study Ecology? Ecology helps us understand the abundance and distribution of organisms. It provides a scientific foundation for the conservation of species and natural areas.

4 Types of Ecology Organismal Ecology
Explores the morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations that allow for individuals to live successfully in an area. Focuses on how organisms interact with one another and their physical environment

5 Types of Ecology Population Ecology
A population is a group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area at the same time Focuses on how the number of individuals change over time, which includes analyzing and predicting population trends.

6 Types of Ecology Community Ecology
A Community is a group of species that interact with one another in a particular area (includes more that one specie) Focuses on interactions between species such as predation, parasitism, competition, as well as how organisms respond to disturbances (fires, floods, man made creations, etc.)

7 Types of Ecology Ecosystem Ecology
An Ecosystem consists of all the organisms in a particular region along with non-living components. (biotic and abiotic factors) Focuses on how nutrients and energy move between organisms, as well as how abiotic factors such as climate, pollution, etc. affect organisms.

8 Factors That Shape Climate
Factors that shape temperature, moisture, sunlight, and wind Varies due to varying amounts of sunlight that hit our earth More sunlight near the equator, with sunlight lessening at altitudes north and south of the equator Seasons are caused by the tilt of the earth (23.5 degrees)


10 Factors That Shape Climate
Air circulation due to heated and cooling air creates Hadley Cells Warmer air holds more water, but areas in between falling hot air tend to be dry areas (30 degrees north and south)

11 Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems
Biome- a type of terrestrial ecosystem that is unique to a given region. Often characterized by the types of plants that are within the area. Categorized by precipitation, temperature, as well as the variation of the two.


13 Different Types of Biomes
Tropical Wet Forests/Rain Forests Near equatorial regions Precipitation and temperatures are high Variation in temperature is low, rain supports all year long growth Plants are typically broad leaved evergreens Very diverse plants and animals- wide array of habitats for animals.


15 Different Types of Biomes
Subtropical Deserts Near 30 degrees south and north Temperatures vary more than in rain forests Temperatures do not fall below zero Drier regions that get little rain fall (Why is this?) Plants have low growth rate, or break dormancy and grow rapidly when there is rainfall


17 Different Types of Biomes
Temperate Grasslands Relatively dry areas (low rainfall) Grasses are dominant life form Temperatures can range from hot to below freezing Long warm summers, and short cold winters


19 Different Types of Biomes
Temperate Forests Similar to Temperate Grasslands, but there is relatively high precipitation that is constant throughout the year Increased precipitation allows for the development of forests Plants typically have a period of dormancy (dropping leaves in autumn and growing in the spring)


21 Different Types of Biomes
Boreal Forests/ Taiga Regions just below the Arctic Circle, often called sub-arctic. Very cold winters, with cool short summers (have a high variation in temperatures) Little evaporation, so moisture is abundant although precipitation is low. Low diversity of organisms and low productivity Dominated by cold-tolerant conifers (pines, spruce, larch trees)


23 Different Types of Biomes
Arctic Tundra Areas above the sub-arctic Very short growing season (two months) Temperatures are below freezing Low precipitation, but low evaporation rates Lack of trees, but there are short plants such as shrubs (growing season too short to support growth) Low species diversity and productivity


25 Different Types of Biomes
Lakes, Ponds, and Wetlands Bodies of freshwater Ponds are small, lakes are large enough to be affected by wind and have waves Wetlands are shallower, with soil saturated into the water, and contain plants that grow above the surface of the water Wetlands consist of Swamps, Marshes, and Bogs



28 http://bulimbacreek. org. au/__data/page/13738/tingalpa_-_wetlands2

29 Marshes, Swamps, and Bogs
lack trees, have a slow and steady rate of water flow Typically connected to a lake or stream system Swamps Similar to marshes Tree and shrub dominated Both are productive habitats because of the supply of sunlight and water


31 pedia/commons/7/75/Florida_ freshwater_swamp_usgov_image.jpg
pedia/commons/7/75/Florida_ freshwater_swamp_usgov_image.jpg

32 Marshes, Swamps, and Bogs
Are not productive environments In areas where water flow is low or non-existent Stagnant water flow-> oxygen poor ->decomposistion-> lack of nitrogen


34 Different Types of Biomes
Streams Bodies of water that move constantly in one direction Creeks- small streams Rivers- large streams Colder streams are faster, narrower Warmer streams are slower, and wider (more favorable for the growth of plants) Estuary- the environment that forms where the river meets the ocean (fresh water meets saltwater)

35 http://bulimbacreek. org. au/__data/page/13738/tingalpa_-_wetlands2

36 Different Types of Biomes
Marine Environments Distinguished by it’s water depth Sunlight penetrates water differently at different depths Contains multiple areas/zones such as the photic zone, aphotic zone, and benthic zone

37 http://funnel. sfsu. edu/courses/geol102/graphics/kareng/life. env2



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