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What is ecology?

Introduction to the science of ecology.

Philip Lussier

on 18 February 2011

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Transcript of What is ecology?

Double click anywhere & add an idea What is ecology? It comes from a Greek root word: oikos Which means "home" So the study of ecology is the science of studying our home. What is our home? Our home is the earth. So ecology is the study of all of the interactions between the living and non-living components of the earth. That is a big topic when you think about it. This means there really isn't ANYTHING on earth that is not a part of the study of ecology. All non-living things and conditions are part of the study of ecology: water, rocks & soil, temperature, sunlight, pH, etc. All living things are part of the study of ecology: plants, animals, fungi, protists, bacteria and archaea. The non-living things are called the abiotic factors of ecology.
The living things are called the biotic factors of ecology. Together all of the living and non-living things in an area are called an ecosystem. This interaction produces different kinds of effects. The type of effect is controlled by the factors. Any single factor that limits the effect is called a limiting factor. This produces one of the laws of ecology. It is called the law of limiting factors and it says that the factor in least supply will determine the end effect regardless of how abundant all other factors may be. Think of a barrel in which one of the staves is shorter than all the rest. How full can you fill the barrel? We will be learning more about limiting factors when we study how nutrients are used in ecosystems. A nutrient is any chemical or compound which is used by an organism in order to survive and/or grow. Another law of ecology is that nutrients cycle Which means they go around and around The last law of ecology we'll talk about today has to do with energy. Energy doesn't cycle it goes through the ecosystem and leaves as heat. That wraps up our introduction to ecology. Any questions?
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