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Ecosystems – Species Diversity & Environmental Interactions After this unit you should be able to: Explain the process of natural selection and cite evidence.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecosystems – Species Diversity & Environmental Interactions After this unit you should be able to: Explain the process of natural selection and cite evidence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecosystems – Species Diversity & Environmental Interactions After this unit you should be able to: Explain the process of natural selection and cite evidence for this process Describe the ways in which evolution influences biodiversity Discuss reasons for species extinction and mass extinction events List the levels of ecological organization Outline the characteristics of populations that help predict population growth Assess logistic growth, carrying capacity, limiting factors, and other fundamental concepts in population ecology Identify efforts and challenges involved in the conservation of biodiversity

2 Learning Targets: Natural selection How evolution influences biodiversity Reasons for species extinction Ecological organization Population characteristics Population ecology Conserving biodiversity

3 Organisms and Species Organisms, the different forms of life on earth, can be classified into different species based on certain characteristics. Figure 3-3

4 Evolution generates biodiversity Species = a population or group of populations – Whose members share characteristics – They can breed with one another and produce fertile offspring Population = a group of individuals of a species that live in the same area Evolution = means change over time – Biological evolution: genetic change in populations over time – Genetic changes lead to changes in appearance, functioning or behavior over generations

5 Natural selection Evolution may be seen as random – directed by natural selection Natural Selection = traits that enhance survival and reproduction – Are passed on more frequently to future generations – those that do not lead to survival, disappear in the gene pool.

6 Evolution by natural selection Micro-evolution: The concept of change over time.  change is through populations of species, not individuals.  Occurs over many generations, through environmental influence and genetic variation.  Micro-evolution can lead to Macro-Evolution (geologically speaking). It is one of the best-supported and most informative concepts in all science – It is the main standpoint of modern biology and the basis for Biodiversity. – Both, Darwin and Wallace proposed natural selection as the mechanism of evolution – Knowing ecology and learning the history of life helps us to understand and appreciate environmental science Evolutionary processes influence pesticide resistance, agriculture, medicine, health, etc.

7 Natural selection shapes organisms Premises of natural selection: - Organisms struggle to survive and reproduce - Organisms produce more offspring than can survive - Individuals of a species vary in their characteristics due to genes and the environment - Some individuals are better suited to their environment and reproduce more effectively Natural selection acts on genetic variation

8 Genetic variation Adaptation = the process where, over time, characteristics (traits) that lead to better reproductive success – Become more prevalent in the population Adaptive trait (leads to adaptation) = a trait that promotes reproductive success Mutations = accidental changes in DNA that may be passed on to the next generation – Non-lethal mutations provide the genetic variation on which natural selection acts Sexual reproduction = also leads to variation through mating preferences. Sexual reproduction

9 Natural selection acts on genetic variation Natural selection changes characteristics through: Directional selection = drives a feature in one direction Stabilizing selection = favors intermediate traits – Preserving the status quo Disruptive selection = traits diverge in two or more directions


11 Environmental conditions affect selection Environmental conditions determine the pressures natural selection exerts – These pressures affect who survives and reproduces – Traits evolve that allow success in that environment But traits that promote success at one time or place may not do so at another Natural selection weeds out unfit individuals – It also elaborates and diversifies traits that may produce new species

12 Selective pressures influence adaptation Divergent evolution = Related species in different environments – Experience different pressures – Evolve different traits Convergent evolution = unrelated species may evolve similar traits – Because they live in similar environments

13 Evidence of natural selection is everywhere It is evident in every adaptation of every organism Artificial Selection = the process of selection conducted under human direction – Producing the great variety of dog breeds and food crops

14 Evolution generates biological diversity Biological diversity (biodiversity) = the variety of life across all levels of biological organization – Species – Genes – Environmental Environmental Scientists have described 1.8 million species – Up to 100 million species may exist – Tropical rainforests are rich in biodiversity

15 Speciation Speciation produces new types of organisms The process of generating new species from a single species Geographic Isolation Where changes and isolations within the environment and habitat cause new species to form. Allopatric speciation: species formation due to physical separation of populations – The main mode of speciation – Populations can be separated by glaciers, rivers, mountains – Each population gets its own set of mutations

16 Another type of speciation Sympatric speciation = species form from populations that become reproductively isolated within the same area – Feed in different areas or eat different foods. Feed – Mate in different seasons or because of mating rituals.mating rituals – Hybridization between two species – Mutations Bird dances: rifle bird ; moonwalk.rifle birdmoonwalk

17 Speciation results in diverse life forms How do major groups diverge over time? Phylogenetic trees (cladograms) = show relationships among species, groups, genes, etc. – Scientists can trace how certain traits evolved

18 The fossil record Fossil: an imprint in stone of a dead organism Fossil record: the cumulative body of fossils worldwide The fossil record shows: – Life has existed on Earth for at least 3.5 billion years – Earlier types of organisms evolved into later ones – The number of species has increased over time – Most species have gone extinct – There have been several mass extinctions in the past

19 Extinction Extinction = the disappearance of a species from Earth – Species last 1-10 million years Biological diversity is now being lost at an astounding rate – This loss of species is irreversible Number of species = speciation - extinction

20 Extinction is a natural process, but … Humans profoundly affect rates of extinction Biodiversity loss affects people directly – Food, fiber, medicine, ecosystem services

21 Some species are more vulnerable to extinction Extinction occurs when the environment changes rapidly – Natural selection can not keep up Many factors cause extinction: – Severe weather, climate change, changing sea levels – New species, small populations – Specialized species Endemic species = a species only exists in a certain, specialized area – Very susceptible to extinction – These species usually have small populations

22 Many U.S. amphibian species are vulnerable Many U.S. amphibians have very small ranges – They are vulnerable to extinction – The Yosemite toad, Houston toad, Florida bog frog 40 salamander species are restricted to areas the size of a typical county Some U.S. salamander species live on top of single mountains

23 Striking gold in Costa Rica In 1964, Golden toads were discovered in Monteverde, Costa Rica The mountainous cloud forest has a perfect climate for amphibians They became extinct within 25 years – Climate change’s drying effect on the forest – A lethal fungus

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