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Chapter 14: Ecology


Biological Organization

What is a Population?
population: group of individuals in a particular area that interbreed and share the same gene
subset of species
level of organization at which evolution is seen
Population Growth
exponential growth: could never happen in reality
limited growth:
starts off exponentially
ultimately flattens out
carrying capacity: maximum population size sustained by a particular environment

What is a Community
a group of populations in a particular environment
interactions between populations: symbiotic, competitive, predator, but not reproductive
Battling It Out
niche: the way an organisms lives in its environment
nesting behavior, food, when it hunts, etc.
job in environment
competition among populations with similar niches
Then What?
competition drives evolution
losing population: adapt to a different niche

Chapter 14: Ecology

Hunted or Be Hunted Predation
predation: when one organism eats another
predator: the organism doing the eating
prey: the organism being eaten
causes prey to evolve: better escape
causes predator to evolve

More About the Community Whos Who
food chain
primary producers: photosynthetic
plants, algae
primary consumers: eat primary producers
secondary consumers: eat primary consumers
carnivore, omnivore
tertiary consumers: eat secondary consumers
break down dead bodies
bacteria, fungi
scavengers: animals that eat remains of dead organisms
The 10% Rule
only 10% of energy is transferred from one level to the next
producers: most energy

Ecological Succession
process of gradual change in an ecological community
pioneer organisms: lichens
corrode rocks
mosses & herbs
pine trees
climax community: deciduous trees: oaks, beeches, maples

Chapter 14: Ecology

The Ecosystem
ecosystem: community together with environment
biotic (living) & abiotic (nonliving) things
Nutrient Cycles
water, carbon, nitrogen
Water Cycle
evaporation & transpiration
runoff, groundwater
Carbon Cycle
organic sugars in plants
plants eaten by animals
Nitrogen Cycle
N2: unavailable for protein synthesis
NO3-: in soil, taken by plants
plants consumed by animals
bacteria convert nitrogen into usable form

Chapter 14: Ecology

biosphere: the planet earth
Terrestrial Biomes
permafrost: permanently frozen topsoil
northern North America, Europe, Asia
very few trees
most plants: short shrubs, grasses, lichen, mosses
few mammals: reindeer, caribou, wolves, bears
south of Tundra
coniferous forest (evergreen)
small mammals: squirrels, hares
larger herbivores: moose, elk, beavers, deer
larger carnivores: grizzly bears, wolves, lynxes
Deciduous Forests:
a lot of rain
wide variety of plants & animals
distinct hot & cold seasons
fauna: deer, skunk, beavers, raccoon
flora: maple, elm, oak, chestnut
deciduous trees: drop leaves in winter
Grasslands (Savanna):
low growing plants, scattered trees
tree growth limited by drought, grazing, fires
tropical savanna: largest herbivores: antelope, kangaroos, zebras, giraffes, elephants
temperate savanna: wild horses, bison, antelope
especially fertile soil
Tropical Rain Forests:
highest rainfall
greatest diversity
fauna: insects, birds, monkeys, lizards, snakes, tapirs
fauna: tall trees, vines, shrubs
driest biome: fewer than 30 cm of rainfall per year
flora: cacti, succulents
fauna: birds, small rodents, lizards, snakes
Aquatic Biomes
Intertidal Zone (Marine):
where land & water meet
alternate periods of dryness & submersion in water
Chapter 14: Ecology

clams, snails, sea urchins, sea stars, crabs, barnacles, mussels, sponges
Neritic Zone (Marine):
from intertidal zone to continental shelf
kelp, seaweeds, crustaceans, sea urchins, sea stars, fish
coral reefs in warm waters
Oceanic Zone (Marine):
open ocean
very little nutrient concentration
phytoplankton, large free-swimming animals
pelagic (open water) & benthic (ocean bottom)
photic (light) & aphotic (no light)
abyssal zones: deepest part of ocean
Littoral Zone (Freshwater):
near shore of lake
many plants
insects, snails, worms, amphibians, some fish
Limnetic Zone (Freshwater):
as far as light will penetrate
photosynthetic organisms & primary consumers
Profundal Zone (Freshwater):
aphotic region of lake
nutrients from limnetic zone float down
primary & secondary consumers

Human Impact on the Environment
greenhouse effect:
increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide
due to burning of fossil fuels & forests
polar ice caps melt, flooding
changes in precipitation patterns
changes in plant & animal populations
detrimental changes in agriculture
ozone depletion:
due to pollution
chemicals: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, in aerosol cans)
ozone (O3): from radiation reacting with O2
protects earths surface from excessive UV radiation
increased incidence of cancer
acid rain:
due to burning of fossil fuels
sulfur dioxide & nitrogen dioxide
Chapter 14: Ecology

sulfuric & nitric acids
lowers pH of aquatic ecosystems & soil
land overgrazed by animals
slash & burn, erosion, flood, changes in weather
DDT: pesticide
resist chemical breakdown
biomagnification: more concentrated with each tropic level
reduction in biodiversity:
more species becoming extinct