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Question 1:

In Module 6, you have been introduced to a number of definitions of ecology, each of which
reflected how the concept of ecology has evolved. In approximately 250300 words (one
double-spaced page), write your own definition of ecology and defend your selection of the
concepts, terms and words that you use. (10 marks)

Ecology is attained from the Greek term Oikos known as residence and logos means
investigation indicates an investigation on the living of creatures. As a subject it emphasizes on
analyzing the connection between any type of creature and its surroundings. Every creature come
across both the living things and nonliving things. The purpose of studying ecology is to learn
the working of nature and how we can protect the environment. Many scientists strongly defined
ecology as the Scientific natural history, study of community population.
In surrounding there are both kind of living beings and nonliving being; comprises of animals,
plants and human beings. With the assistance of ecology we can investigate any two creatures
like animal ecology and plant ecology. The term bio ecology refers to the study of animal and
Generally, it is the more extensive investigation of groups, including species interrelations and
group structure and capacity and nature of ecosystems. Essentially it shows and describes the
relationship of creatures, natural resources.
Understanding of ecology is vital for existence of humans breed it best defines the underlying
concepts of biomass, variance and population of creatures and there link within and outside the
ecosystem. From development of world to growth of human beings. Ecology also encompasses
the usual and rare processes such as paedogenesis, primary production, mineral recycling and the
moment of small organisms, all these system lead to develop the energy and object stream
through their surroundings.
Following perspectives are very useful in understanding the human physiography approach:

Population Ecology:
Population is set of all persons of similar breed inside a society. Commonly we study about the
alternating factors and changes in number of creatures. The increase in number of living things
has strong impact on the living of people and their ecosystem. The focus of population ecology is
to study the increase in population, alternating factors in size, density, variation, dissipation and
their impact on other living and nonliving things.

Cultural ecology:
It is basically related with human adjustment in the physical and social surroundings. It describes
briefly the catalyst and the stage which can be natural or instructive which empowers a
community to live and yield with in the culture of current surroundings. It demonstrates how
people, families, and associations can make activity arrangements as far as possible on the
ecological effect of their everyday employments of materials and vitality that course through
home, neighborhood, work environment and recreation environment.
Historical Ecology:
It is an investigation program that emphasizes on studying the synergy of humans and their
biosphere over a period of time. That for how long humans are existing on earth and keeping the
records of civilization comes under it. Researchers collects data from different incidents instead
of focusing on particular catastrophe. Historical ecology needs input from various exercises
(Crumley, 1996).
We should design and postulate for the safety of biosphere instead of demolishing it. Its our
obligation to protect the things that enable us to exercise the natural resources in the productive
ways by collaborating all environment in place.
Question 2:
Part A:

In this assignment, you will demonstrate that you understand the basic structure of
ecosystems, selecting ecosystems (e.g. boreal forest, river, costal rain forest, marine,
grasslands), prepare a diagram that illustrates the main components of the ecosystems as
well as the main processes including energy flow, nutrient cycling, the mineral cycle and the
water cycle.
The Ecosystem

Energy Flow in Ecosystem

The Mineral Cycle

The Nutrient cycle

The Water cycle

Part B:
Your essay should clearly differentiate: (a) energy, mineral flow, nutrient cycling, and the
water cycle; (b) food chains and trophic levels; (c) primary and secondary succession.
Energy flow:
As the diagram depicts that all organism require energy for the survival, growth, movement and
production. Thus there is a source of energy and disposal of energy in an ecosystem. Almost all
the energy that runs the ecosystem comes from the sun. Hence, sun is the ultimate source of
energy in the ecosystem from which the flow of energy begins. The solar energy is consumed by
the producers through the photosynthesis process. Producers comprises of all the plants including
bacteria and algae. Then, these producers are the source of energy for consumers that include
humans and decomposers. In the end the decomposers disciple the remaining of producers and
consumers in to tiny particles and then in to minerals. Ecologist also depict this through food
chain to show the relationship between organism and environment.

Mineral Flow:

Carbon is the most essential component which rotates between the atmosphere and plants in form
of carbon dioxide. Carbon, and other natural elements like oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen,
potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, and the undiscovered elements, water, are reason of
existence of life. Since earth is main source of these minerals. Earth collect all these minerals
through decomposition process of plants and animals. There are various methods and processes
for the plants that incorporate those minerals from earth inside themselves and result in
production of grass and other plants.
Nutrient cycle
The cycle of chemical elements in the ecosystem is known as nutrient cycle. The trade-off
between consumer and producers results in living matter. As energy and minerals go side by side
in the ecosystem so the breakage of energy results in the minerals or nutrients for the organisms.
In this cycle the organic and inorganic substance get back to the living organisms. Nutrients carry
out process as they are consumed and re produced by the organisms. The decomposers breaks the
dead matter in to small nutrients then these nutrients get mix up with the soil and becomes part of
it. Somatic processes such as oxidation, photo-decay, diffusion, osmosis, mechanical breakage
and absorption get in to plants body.
The Water Cycle:
Nearly 70% of the earth is covered with water and water is present in abundant amount mostly in
forest. As water is the most essential element of ecosystem almost every organism needs water
for survival and development. The water cycle explains the perpetual movement of water over
and beneath the surface of ground. Some part of water is visible on the surface of earth which is
source of living for living beings and other part of water is deep inside the earth. The water in
stream, lakes, rivers and seas continually evaporates. Water with in the plant get evaporated,
which is called transpiration. These water vapors goes in the air and join together for the
formation of clouds. With the air movement these clouds propel together and losses amount of
water which fall down due to the gravitational pull called precipitation. The continuous process
of evaporation, transpiration, condensation and precipitation forms the water cycle.It is most
effective process for the sustainability of earth.

Food chain and Trophic levels






small plants

herbivores > carnivores


Trophic levels:
1st trophic level: autotrophs consume the energy through photosynthesis build the first trophic
2nd trophic level: Primary consumer make up the 2nd trophic level as they consume the

3rd trophic level: Primary consumer are consumed by secondary consumers i-e carnivores form
the third trophic level as they consume the herbivores
4th trophic level: Secondary consumer are eaten by tertiary consumers that make up the 4th
trophic level.
Primary and secondary succession:
The sequence from Primary to secondary would be a snake that consume Birds who eat insects
that eat leaves. So insects in my view is the primary consumer that is consumed by the bird is
secondary consumer and snake is the tertiary consumer.

Question 3:
Distinguish between biomass, gross primary productivity, and net primary productivity.
Using specific examples outline the major factors that influence productivity in terrestrial
Energy collected through natural resources like sun, rain, wind, tides and geothermal heat need to
be used as they are compatible with the surroundings. Nowadays people are consuming about 87
% of energy that come from gas, coal and furnace oil. Remaining 13 % need to consume through
some processes which we regards as natural source of energy.
Biomass is the natural and viable source of energy. It is biological material obtained from plants
or living organism and used to produce energy. Biomass core is carbon dioxide and contains
saturation of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Biomass is used as source of energy through
combustion process directly. People in rural areas also convert biomass in to biofuel through
biochemical methods and use it as fuel for trucks and tractors. Vast types of biomass like corn,
wood, animal waste are utilize for production of electricity. On other hand sugar cane and other
plants can be converted to ethanol through fermentation process. When plants and animals are
expired their body decompose into biological material after full decomposition they can be
consumed as fuel. The quantity of biomass rely on the trophic level they are related as we know
that various trophic levels would have various quantity and number of species dying every year.

Gross primary productivity:

It is the amount of energy produce by the primary producers through chemical processes. Some
amount of energy is consumed by the producers themselves for respiration and working
processes. The net primary energy is the amount of chemical energy produced by the plants in
ecosystem. This terminology has significant effect on ecosystem as plants are the gross
producers and other are consumer.
Net Primary production
As plants consume are the ultimate source of energy for humans and animals. They also need
some amount of energy for mechanism of plants like respiration, osmosis, xylem phloem,
photosynthesis, transpiration for growth process. The great amount of energy is consumed by the
plants for carrying out above mentioned processes. The remaining chemical energy is Net
primary energy which is made up by plants in ecosystem. This great amount of energy is there to
be consumed by the consumers.
For instance
The sun gives us

1.7 109

calories/sq. meter energy during the day time. Which is quickly

used by the plants and they are able to generate

2.8 107 calories/sq. meter among which

73% is utilized for their own processes and the rest 27% is consumed by the consumers. Now
this 73% energy is the gross primary productivity and the remaining 27% is the net primary
Historical ecology:
Actually it is a research based on facts and figures for studying the relationship between human
and their surroundings. Historical ecology enables us to know and study the ancient civilization
as well as todays biosphere. With the help historical ecology we can set plans for saving the
future ecosystem. This branch of ecology evolved from chronicles of forests and the
reconstruction of ecology same as community for ecological restoration encompasses the
historical ecology. In order to analyze the relationship among humans and adaptive environment

in wetlands San Francisco Estuary institute rely on historical ecology. The first instate who
adopted the concepts of historical ecology is WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest.
System Ecology
It is the associative branch of ecology in which we study the connection between creatures and
physical environment. The focus of this study is on ecosystem and emphasises not only on the
structure of environment but also on human influence on the surroundings.it also encompasses
the impact of anthropocentric aspect on environment. System ecology is the comprehensive
approach for understanding the concept of ecology. Same as ecology it has aims of analyzing the
theories on environment, identify and oversee the developing properties and conjecture the
results to interruptions. The main emphasis of system ecology is on the synergy and executions
inside and among natural and environmental systems. Chiefly concentrates on the impacts of
human involvement in the working of biosphere. Thermodynamics also constitutes some parts of
it foundation.
Open system:
The type of system which allows the interaction between the elements of ecosystem with the
surroundings. Solar energy enters the ecosystem and it converted to chemical energy without the
stable source of energy the ecosystem would collapse. Hence, Earth is the open system with
reference to energy.it is explained as the transaction of material in the ecosystem by fabricating
and elucidating the elements. The views of open system enables us to build up the
interdisciplinary among the concepts of organism, thermodynamics and Darwinism.
Close system
It is the system which does not allow its elements to interact with the surroundings also known as
isolated system. Transaction of energy, matter and information is restricted in close system. The
second law of thermodynamics is best example in which heat cannot be obtained due to
complexity. In an ecosystem while decomposition process the minerals which cannot be
destroyed and obtained as nutrients. So earth is close system with reference to elements.
Nutrient cycle:

As discussed above the decomposition of minerals back in to the body of organism through
respiration, oxidation, transpiration and other different procedures. The brief description of these
processes are given in the detail of this cycle.Elements like carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen
enter in organism through various ways. These organic matter enter in to body of organism
biochemically but after the decomposition process they reinstate back in to inorganic matter. This
is cyclic process commence at the death of organism and finishes with the birth of new organism.
It is just hostile to the life cycle of creature mostly plants.
Question 5:
Traditional knowledge and western scientific knowledge are more alike than different.
Discuss with reference to you research.
Traditional knowledge:
It encompasses the dogma, beliefs, approaches and theories that are refined, supported and are
then transformed as it is from one generation to the other in the vicinity, society or country. The
traditional knowledge assistance in the formation of cultural practices. Which is established on
the wisdom and observation of particular category of individuals. It may rely on the foundation
of interaction of organism with their surroundings. Few characteristics of this dogma are as

It is presumed by supporters to be the authentic

The followers may evaluate it as spiritual knowledge.
Method of conveying is explicate or story telling
Learning is based on the experiences
May be verbal or non-verbal
Not precise but inclusive
It is instinctive, comprehensive and pragmatic.

Western scientific knowledge:

This philosophy is based on research, experience, deductive analysis and collaborative valid
data. Western knowledge confronts the traditional knowledge and ideas because it is based on
perception and there is no practicality included. Hence it defies the eligibility to be valid.
Western people rely on science and they promote deductive and research approach rather than

Following enlist the characteristics of western knowledge

It is presumed as based on realism.

Not sacred, totally temporal except any influence of spiritual theories.
Determine by academic stages and processes of teaching.
It is drafted hence there lie documents and assurance.
It is established on reasoning and distinction
Investigation and axioms make up the basis
It is based on theory, equitable and optimistic.