What is Ecology? Scientific study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment
Biosphere – Combined portions of the planet in which all of life exists, including land, water and air or atmosphere Extends from 8 kilometers above Earth’s surface to 11 kilometers below the surface of the ocean
Interactions and Interdependence Interactions within the biosphere produce a web of interdependence between organisms and the environment in which they live
Levels of Organization – Individual: interactions between an organism and its surroundings cottontail rabbit – Population: groups of individuals that belong to the same species and live in the same area group of cottontail rabbits
Levels of Organization – Communities: different populations that live together in a defined area rabbits, coyotes, ravens, lizard – Ecosystem: collection of all the organisms that live in a particular place, together with their nonliving, or physical, environment rabbits, coyotes, ravens, lizard, rocks, dirt, climate, water
Levels of Organization – Biome: group of ecosystems that have the same climate and dominant communities desert, tundra, tropical rain forest – Biosphere: planet Earth
Ecological Methods – Three approaches to ecological research: Observing: Use of 5 senses to ask ecological questions Experimenting: Used to test hypotheses – artificial environment in a lab – within natural ecosystems
Ecological Methods – Modeling: Used to gain insight into complex phenomena such as the effects of global warming – may include mathematical formulas based on data collected through observation and experimentation – predictions tested by further observations and experiments
Biotic and Abiotic Factors Click on link to see video clip
Biotic Factors ‘Bio’- Means ‘life’ Definition - organisms that make up the living portion of an ecosystem Also considered the ORGANIC component of the ecosystem Ex. Trees, shrubs, insects, animals, algae, fungi, etc
Abiotic Factors ‘Abio’ – Means ‘not life’ Definition – the nonliving features of an environment Considered the INORGANIC component of the ecosystem Ex. Air, temperature, moisture, light, rocks, and soil
Energy Flow Energy flows from the sun or inorganic compounds to producers. Consumers eat producers to get energy. The primary source of energy on Earth is the sun!!
Habitat Definition – physical location in which an organism lives In other words the home address of a species Ex. Fern habitat – moist, shady forest floor.
Habitat Many animals can share a habitat A single tree maybe the habitat for several species of birds, squirrels, etc. However, each species uses the habitat in a different way. They all find their niche Coral reef biodiversity.
Niche Definition – the way a species uses the resources of its habitat and what it does in the community Includes: food, living space, methods of obtaining food, etc. NO TWO SPECIES CAN OCCUPY THE SAME NICHE
Producers Autotrophs – “self feed” Use sunlight to create carbohydrates via photosynthesis Ex – Plants, algae and some bacteria Some bacteria create organic compounds from inorganic chemicals – Chemosynthesis – Live in remote places.
PRODUCERS Producers make their own food! They are also called autotrophs Level 1 on the Trophic Level Plants and bacteria make up this group. They make their food from the sun called photosynthesis
CONSUMERS Consumers are living things that cannot make food for themselves. (Also called heterotrophs) They survive by taking in food that has been made by other living things. A food chain contains several kinds of consumers. Heterotroph – “Different food” Must eat to obtain energy. Ex – animals, fungi, some protists YOUR MOM’S A HETEROTROPH!!!
Types of Heterotrophs Herbivore – eats plants Carnivore – eats animals Omnivore – eats plants and animals Detritivore – eats detritus (plant and animal remains) – Ex- snails, crabs, earthworms Decomposer – breaks down organic matter – Ex – bacteria and fungi
Ecological Pyramid A diagram that shows the relative amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a food chain or food web. Energy, biomass, and population numbers can all be represented by a pyramid.
Matter can be recycled Matter can be reformed The basic building blocks are reused Conservation of Matter The Law of Conservation of Matter states that matter cannot be created or destroyed only transformed from one form to another. Matter cycles…
The four most abundant elements in living things are… H Hydrogen O Oxygen N Nitrogen C Carbon
Cycles of Matter Recycling in the Biosphere – Matter is recycled within and between ecosystems. – Matter moves through an ecosystem in biogeochemical cycles.
Photosynthesis vs. Respiration Photosynthesis is the process by which producers convert radiant energy from the sun into chemical energy in the form of glucose (food). Cellular respiration is done by both producers and consumers. It uses oxygen to break down glucose into carbon dioxide and water, releasing energy in the process.
Nitrogen Cycle N 2 in Atmosphere NH 3 NO 3 - and NO 2 -
Nitrogen Cycle – 78% of Earth’s atmosphere is Nitrogen gas = N 2 Nitrogen containing products: – Ammonia (NH 3 ) – Nitrate ions (NO 3 -) – Nitrite ions (NO 2 -) Nitrogen is needed for protein and nucleic acid synthesis
Nitrogen Cycle – Converting nitrogen gas into ammonia is called nitrogen fixation. Only certain types of bacteria can do this. Plants use the converted products (NH 3, NO 3 -,& NO 2 -) to make plant proteins. – Some bacteria convert nitrates into nitrogen gas (denitrification).
– Phosphorus is important for the formation of DNA and RNA molecules. – Phosphorus is not very common and does not enter the atmosphere, instead it is found mostly on land in rock and soil.
Primary Productivity The rate at which producers create organic matter. Determines the size of the community. Limited by availability of nutrients. – Land – phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), potassium (K) – Marine – nitrogen – Fresh water - phosphorus
Algal Bloom Details An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae (typically microscopic) in an aquatic system. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments. Typically, only one or a small number of phytoplankton species are involved, and some blooms may be recognized by discoloration of the water resulting from the high density of pigmented cells. Although there is no officially recognized threshold level, algae can be considered to be blooming at concentrations of hundreds to thousands of cells per milliliter, depending on the severity.algae phytoplankton A harmful algal bloom (HAB) is an algal bloom that causes negative impacts to other organisms via production of natural toxins, mechanical damage to other organisms, or by other means. HABs are often associated with large-scale marine mortality events and have been associated with various types of shellfish poisonings.shellfish poisonings
HAB Dangers the production of neurotoxins which cause mass mortalities in fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals human illness or death via consumption of seafood contaminated by toxic algae mechanical damage to other organisms, such as disruption of epithelial gill tissues in fish, resulting in asphyxiation oxygen depletion of the water column (hypoxia or anoxia) from cellular respiration and bacterial degradation anoxia