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Chapter 18 Notes:

Penguins and Polar Bears in Peril:


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Scientists have come to the agreement over the last decade that the climate
is indeed changing
The average global temperature has risen 0.8 oC over the past century (last
30 years)
The northern and southern most regions have risen in temperature the most
This can range from heavy floods to less ice in the Antarctic
Both penguins and polar bears are negatively affected by global climate
change

An Overview of Ecology:
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Ecology- the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their
environments

Ecology and Environmentalism:


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Technological innovations have enabled people to colonize about every


environment on Earth
The survival of humanity depends on Earths natural resources which have
been diminished
The struggle to obtain resources also leads to pollution and the extinction of
animals
The problems that ecology deals with are based around ethics and morals

A Hierarchy of Interactions:
Biotic Factors- all of the organisms in the area (can lead to competition for
prey)
o Abiotic Factors- factors that make up the environments nonliving component
and include chemical and physical factors, such as temperature, light, water,
minerals, and air
o Habitat- the specific environment that an animal lives in (encompasses both
biotic and abiotic factors)
1) Organismal Ecology- the branch of ecology concerned with the evolutionary
adaptations that enable organisms to meet the challenges posed by their
abiotic environments
o Organism- an individual living thing
o The distribution of organisms is limited by the abiotic conditions they can
tolerate
o Temperature and precipitation shifts due to global climate change have
already affected the distributions of animals
2) Population Ecology- the branch of ecology that concentrates mainly on
factors that affect population density and growth
o Population- a group of individuals of the same species living in a particular
geographical area
o This branch covers endangered species and how humans contribute to this
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3) Community Ecology- the branch of ecology that focuses on how interactions


between species, such as predation and competition, affect community
structure and organization
o Community- all the organisms that inhabit a particular area
4) Ecosystem Ecology- the branch of ecology that studies energy flow and the
cycling of chemicals among the various biotic and abiotic factors
o Ecosystem- all the abiotic factors in addition to the community of species in a
certain area
o Biosphere- the global ecosystem (the sum of all the planets ecosystems, or
all of life and where it lives)
o The biosphere ranges from the atmosphere down to water-bearing rocks
Living in Earths Diverse Environment:
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The world contains striking region patterns which encompass the diversity of
life
Variation occurs on many different scales in a certain region

Abiotic Factors of the Biosphere:


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Patterns in the distribution of life mainly reflect differences in the abiotic


factors the environment

Energy Source:
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All organisms require a usable source of energy to live


Solar energy from sunlight, captured by chlorophyll during the process of
photosynthesis, powers most ecosystems
Lack of sunlight is the most important factor limiting plant growth for
terrestrial ecosystems

Temperature:
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Few organisms can maintain a sufficiently active metabolism at temperatures


close to thirty two degrees F and temperatures about one hundred thirteen
degrees F destroys the enzymes of org.
Most organisms function best within a specific range of environmental
temperatures

Water:
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Water is essential to all life


For terrestrial organism the primary threat is drying out in the air
Land animals have watertight coverings that reduce water loss
Plants have waxy coatings on their leaves and other aerial parts

Inorganic Nutrients:
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The distribution and abundance of photosynthetic organisms, depend on the


availability of inorganic nutrients such as compounds of nitrogen and
phosphorus (in the soil)

Soil structure, pH, and nutrient content often play major roles in determining
the distribution of plants

Other Aquatic Factors:


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Aquatic organisms must depend on oxygen dissolved in water to undergo


cellular respiration
Terrestrial organisms depend on oxygen in the air

Other Terrestrial Factors:


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Wind increases an organisms rate of water loss by evaporation


Frequent occurrences of natural disturbances such as storms or fire play a
role in the distribution of organisms

The Evolutionary Adaptations of Organisms:


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The ability of organisms to live in Earths diverse environments demonstrates


the close relationship between the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology
Events that occur in the short term, during the course of an individuals
lifetime, may translate into affects over the longer scale of evolutionary time

Adjusting to Environmental Variability:


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The abiotic factors in a habitat may vary from year to year, seasonally, or
over the course of a day
An individuals ability to adjust to environmental changes that occur during
its lifetime are themselves adaptations refined by natural selection
Physiological Response- a natural response to a changing environment
(without thinking)
Behavioral response- a thought-out response to a changing environment
(with thinking)

Physiology Responses:
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Acclimation- a gradual, though still reversible, physiological adjustment that


occurs in response to an environmental change
The ability to acclimate is generally related to the range of environmental
conditions a species naturally experiences

Anatomical Responses:
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Organisms respond to environmental challenge with some type of change in


body shape or structure (when the change is reversible it is an example of
acclimation)
Some anatomical changes are irreversible over the lifetime of an individual
Environmental variation can affect growth and development so much that
there may be remarkable differences in body shape within a population

Behavioral Response:
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Most animals can respond to an unfavorable change in the environment by


moving to a new location

Some animals are capable of migrating great distances in response to


environmental cues such as the changing of seasons

The Water Cycle:


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All parts of the biosphere are linked by the global water cycle
Water and air move in global patterns that are driven by solar energy

Human Impact on Biomes:


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People have been using increasingly effective technologies to capture or


produce food, to extract resources from the environment, and to build cities
(there are costs involved)
Sustainability- the goal of developing, managing, and conserving Earths
resources in ways that meet the needs of people today without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their needs

Forests:
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About three-quarters of Earths land surface has been altered by thousands of


years of human occupation (majority of this land is used for agriculture)
By clearing forests humans only create more air pollution and diminish the
amount of natural resources that are present

Fresh Water:
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Freshwater ecosystems are being polluted by large amounts of nitrogen and


phosphorus compounds that run off from heavily fertilized farms or from
livestock feedlots
Industrial wastes also contribute to the pollution in freshwater habitats
Some areas also face dire shortages of water as a result of the overuse of
groundwater for irrigation, extended droughts, or poor water management
In other areas of the world, water is so hard to come by that people are
fighting wars over it

Global Climate Change:


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Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and certain other gases in the


atmosphere are changing global climate patterns

The Green House Effect and Global Warming:


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Greenhouse Gases- a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by


absorbing infrared radiation
Greenhouse gases act as a blanket that traps heat in the atmosphere
Greenhouse Effect- the trapping of the sun's warmth in a planet's lower
atmosphere due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible
radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet's
surface

The Accumulation of Greenhouse Gases:

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The majority of scientists are confident that human activities have caused the
rising concentrations of greenhouse gases
The levels of greenhouse gases have increased dramatically over the last
decade
Deforestation has contributed because plants require CO 2 in order to undergo
the process of photosynthesis. When there is not enough plants to absorb
that gas then it goes back into the atmosphere
Carbon dioxide is also being released into the atmosphere through the
burning of wood and other organic materials/biomass
The oceans act like a sponge and soak up CO 2, but when there is too much
carbon dioxide the water becomes acidic which can be harmful to marine
communities

How Does Climate Change Affect Species Distribution?


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Abiotic factors are fundamental determinants of where organisms live.


Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns will have a significant
effect on the distribution of life

Effects of Climate Change on Ecosystems:


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Every species needs and depends on others in order to survive


Due to the rising temperatures, a variety of species have begun their
breeding seasons early
The combined effects of climate change in North America have spawned
catastrophic wildfire seasons
Beetles have benefitted from global warming because it allows them to
reproduce twice a year instead of once
Vast numbers of dead trees add fuel to a wildfire
Wildfires burn longer, and the number of acres burned has increased
dramatically
The Amazon rain forest may also gradually become savanna as increased
temperatures dry out the soil
Global warming can also affect the availability of fresh water in cities

Looking to Our Future:


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With emissions of greenhouse gases continuing to rise, It may be inevitable


to avoid global climate change in the near future, but with effort, ingenuity,
and international cooperation, we may be able to begin reducing emissions
Carbon Footprint- the amount of greenhouse gas emitted as a result of the
actions of a single individual (home energy is one of the major contributors)
Transportation is also a significant part of the carbon footprint
Humans can reduce their carbon footprint by not purchasing unnecessary
goods and recycling wherever possible
Eating locally grown fresh foods may lower the greenhouse gas emissions
that result from food processing and transportation

Climate Change as an Agent of Natural Selection:

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Environmental change has always been a part of life and is a key ingredient
of evolutionary change
Some populations, especially those with high genetic variability and short life
spans, may avoid extinction by means of evolutionary adaptation
The rate of climate change is incredibly fast compared with major climate
shifts in evolutionary history