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Intro to Ecology
Transcript of Intro to Ecology
study of interactions between organisms and their environment Ecology - word coined in 1866 by Ernst Haeckel based on greek word 'oikos' : meaning house or living relations Think of the living world as a house... each organism plays a role A. Interactions and Interdependence Nature's 'houses' come in all sizes -
from single cells to an entire planet. Ecosystem
Community place these in order of largest to smallest 1. Biosphere
6. Species Interactions within the biosphere produce a web
of interdependence between organisms and the
environment which they live in. Biosphere combined portions of planet in which all life exists
INCLUDING: land, water, air and atmosphere
- extends from 8km above Earth's surface to
as far as 11km below surface of ocean Discussion: What is interdependence? A dynamic of being responsible to,
to depend on others while they depend on you. B. Levels of Organization
Some scientists study a specific organism and
its surroundings. This is the species or (individual) level. Species: group of organisms
that is capable of interbreeding
and producing fertile offspring. b. Population a. Species Ecologists study populations, or groups
of individuals of the same species, living in
the same area. c. Community A community is an group of different
populations living together in a defined area.
Example. A pond community may include
fish, frogs, insects and land animals like deer
who come to drink from the pond. d. Ecosystem A collection of all the organisms in a place
together with the non-living or physical environment. An ecosystem includes the rocks, minerals,
soil, sunlight and natural features of an area. e. Biome A group of ecosystems with the same climate
and similar dominant communities. North America has as many as 7 different biomes!! We live in the temperate forest biome.
Discussion: What do you think are
the characteristics of our biome? mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees
cold winters and warm summers
year round precipitation
dominant wildlife: deer, black bears, bobcats,
nut and acorn feeders, raccoons, skunks, songbirds
f. Biosphere Our biosphere is planet earth. C. Ecological Methods methods used by ecologists range from binoculars to molecular analysis a. Three Basic Approaches no matter what tools are used, ecological research
relies on observing, experimenting and modeling 1. Observing
often first step
ask questions like: What species live here? 2. Experimenting used to answer questions posed during observation
test hypotheses: an ecologist might set up an
artificial environment and manipulate conditions 3. Modeling ecological phenomena often occur on such a large
scale it is difficult to study (time and space)
models of ecosystems are manageable and can
even be computer generated