Ecology- an ecosystem: a Biome: o They are either terrestrial or aquatic. rainforests, deserts, coral reefs

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1 Topic 17: Ecology Ecology- The environment is an organism s surroundings o It includes:! biotic factors: Ecosystems! abiotic factors: an ecosystem: In order for an ecosystem to maintain life it must: - have a constant source of energy (such as the sun) o the energy is passed on from one living thing to another - cycle and recycle material between the organisms and their environment o Materials include: nutrients, water, energy, O 2, CO 2 and nitrogen - examples of ecoystems include: a Biome: o They are either terrestrial or aquatic. rainforests, deserts, coral reefs Parts of an Ecosystem a habitat: A niche: o It includes what an organism eats, when it eats it and how it gets it. Habitat: an organism s address Niche: an organism s occupation Only one species at a time can occupy a particular niche. o If more than species tries to fill the same role in an ecosystem, the result is o Eventually one species will leave or be eliminated Population: o ex. all the oak trees in a forest o ex. all the goldfish in a pond 1

2 All the populations in an ecosystem are linked with one another--either directly or indirectly o Ex. lions are zebras are linked directly. The lions eat the zebras. Lions are linked indirectly with the plants that zebras eat. Without those plants, the zebra will starve and die. Then there will be no zebra for the lions to eat. Community: o ex. all the frogs, fish, algae and plants in a pond All of Earth s ecosystems make up the biosphere, which is the part of the earth where living things can be found. The biosphere extends from the ocean floor to the highest point in the atmosphere Smallest grouping to largest grouping: Population community ecosystem -- biosphere Community Interactions There are 3 main types of relationships between organisms: 1. Predation: The relationship where one organism (predator) captures and consumes another organism (prey) Ex. 2. Competition: The struggle for either living or nonliving resources among organisms Living Resources Nonliving Resources Competition can be between the same species Ex. Competition can be between different species Ex. Ex. Grass and weeds such as dandelions may compete for water and space 2

3 3. Symbiotic relationships: Describe the interactions between two organisms that live in close proximity to one another. At least one of the organisms must benefit from the relationship. Types of Symbiotic Relationships Mutualism Ex. Plants and their pollinators Commensalism Ex. barnacles on whales Parasitism Ex. tapeworm living in human digestive tract Ex. Strep throat: bacteria enter your body, grow and reproduce. They give off chemicals that irritate your throat Ex 1. The squirrel lives in and feeds on the tree Ex 2. The tick lives off of human blood and may carry disease Ex 3. Birds eat insects off of the rhinoceros 3

4 Ex 4. A lion hunting a zebra Ex 5. A prairie dog and birds fight for a seed Limits on Population Size Competition o populations will increase or decrease depending on the resources available at a given time Predation o Predators: o Prey: Disease Unusual weather/natural disasters human factors (covered in next packet) Carrying Capacity the carrying capacity: o because resources are limited, populations can t grow beyond a certain # the carrying capacity is determined by abiotic factors (amount of water, oxygen) and by interactions between organisms (competition, predator-prey relationships, etc.) 4

5 Autotrophs (producers) Heterotrophs (consumers) Nutritional Relationships use the sun s energy for photosynthesis they are the source of food energy for other living things plants and algae 5 types: 1. Herbivores: 2. Carnivores: 3. Decomposers (Saprophytes): o They break it down and return materials back into the environment to be reused by producers (recycle). o Ex. bacteria, fungi 4. Omnivores: o Ex. Humans 5. Scavengers: o Ex. vultures o They are not decomposers. The wastes, bones, hair left behind by scavengers still have to be broken down by decomposers Parasites Organisms that attack other live organisms (hosts) but rarely kill them. They usually live on or in the body. (Ex. Ticks) Food Chains, Webs and Energy Pyramids Food chains: show the relationship between predator and prey. It shows what eats what. It also shows the flow of energy between organisms 5

6 o Herbivores are the 1 st level consumers o Organisms that eat 1 st level consumers are called 2 nd level consumers o Organisms that eat 2 nd level consumers are called 3 rd level consumers Producer " 1 st level consumer " 2 nd level consumer " 3 rd level consumer Ex. Food Webs: 1) If the population of mice is reduced by disease, which change will most likely occur in the food web? A) The cricket population will increase. B) The deer population will decrease. C) The grasses will decrease. D) The snake population will increase. 2) What is the original source of energy for this food web? A) the Sun B) chemical reactions of bacteria C) enzymatic reactions D) chemical bonds in sugar molecules 3) Which organisms are not shown in this diagram but are essential to a balanced ecosystem? A) producers B) autotrophs C) decomposers D) heterotrophs 4) State one example of a predator-prey relationship found in the food web. Indicate which organism is the predator and which is the prey. Energy Pyramid- each block represents the amount of energy that was obtained from the organism below it each energy level is smaller as you go up because organisms use energy for life activities and they lose energy in the form of heat. Only ~10% of the energy available at one level is transferred to organisms at the next level. o This means that as you go up the pyramid, the amount of available energy supports less organisms (biomass). o So there are less carnivores than there are herbivores. A continuous supply of energy from the sun is needed to keep the flow of energy going. 6

7 Succession An ecosystem will change over time until a stable stage is reached. Ecosystems with greater biodiversity are more stable o Ex. A forest has more biodiversity and is more stable than a cornfield ecological succession: They are the first organisms to populate an area These organisms change the environment, making it less favorable for themselves and more favorable to others. The pioneer organisms will be replaced by a new community, which will also change the environment. That community will also be replaced and so on until a climax community is reached. o A climax community continues until a catastrophic event such as a fire, flood or a draught happens and destroys the community. o When this occurs succession begins again until the climax community is reached. o It may be the same as the original climax community or a different one. Succession in a forest: Succession in a lake: 7

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