Ecology Lecture 1

So what is “Ecology?”
Ecology is the scientific study of the relationships between organisms and their environment
What is Physiological Ecology?
The study of physiological adaptations to an organism’s microenvironment
What is Microenvironment?
The immediate
environment sensed by an individual
How does temperature affect
plant or animal growth?
A question a Physiological Ecologist is concerned with.
What is a population?
Individuals of same species
that live in the same area. They can
potentially interbreed with one another
and often share the same resources
What causes death of young
individuals in a species?
A question population ecologists would be concerned with.
What determines
successful reproduction?
A question population ecologists would be concerned with.
What
determines the life span?
A question population ecologists would be concerned with.
What is a community?
A group of successful
populations from more than one species
that live in together in the same place
What is the relative abundance
of tree species in a forest?
Things a community ecologist may study
Which bird species are found in association with different plant species?
Things a community ecologist may study
How do invasive species and diseases impact other organisms?
Things a community ecologist may study
What is an ecosystem?
Living (communities) and non- living factors in an area. The focus is on nutrient and energy flow.
What controls nutrient cycling
and nutrient availability in a forest?
Topics an ecosystem Ecologist might study.
What is the impact of atmospheric
deposition (dust) on plants
and animals?
Topics an ecosystem Ecologist might study.
How does elevated carbon dioxide
impact ecosystem carbon and nitrogen balance?
Topics an ecosystem Ecologist might study.
Biome?
s are geographic regions with similar
geological and climatic conditions
– Tropical rain forest
– Desert
– Grasslands
What is controlling woody plant
encroachment in deserts?
A topic an Ecologist studying a biome may study.
What is controlling desertification at a
global level?
A topic an Ecologist studying a biome may study.
What is the difference between the energy flow through an ecosystem, and the nutrient cycle.
Energy flows through ecosystems, nutrients cycle within ecosystems.
functional group
of organisms is a group that all perform the same ecological function. For example, there are many tree species performing photosynthesis in a forest
keystone species
occurs when only one species performs the ecological function. An example is many agricultural systems where only one plant species is grown across large areas
What are the three characteristics of an ecological system?
1.interactions
2.Synergy
3.Stability
an example of synergy.
For example, bacteria can increase plant photosynthesis by supplying the plant with more nitrogen. Bird reproduction is much higher if trees are available for nests rather than nesting on the ground.
what does a stable ecosystem mean?
1. Changes occur within certain bounds as oscillations; change is not directional,
it is stochastic.
2. Key processes such as energy capture are maintained
What is an example of directional change.
Global CO2 concentration, which moves in a constant upward direction.