Intro. to Ecology and energy transfer
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Intro. to Ecology and energy transfer






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Intro. to Ecology and energy transfer Intro. to Ecology and energy transfer Presentation Transcript

  • Ecology
  • Ecology is the study of natural systems
    • To truly understand the mechanisms of the natural world, one must understand taxonomy, physiology, behavior, biochemistry, genetics, statistics and to one degree or another, every aspect of the sciences
  • Earth Atmosphere - mixture of gases Hydrosphere - H 2 O - frozen & liquid Lithosphere - rock & nonliving matter The biosphere contains all living organisms on Earth. These living creatures are dependent on the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere for maintaining life. Ecology is the study of nature which includes interactions between all of the biotic (living) components and the abiotic (nonliving) components of a system.
  • Some important terminology
    • Biotic - living components in an ecosystem
    • Abiotic - nonliving components in an ecosystem
    • Population - living organisms of the same species in the same area at the same time
    • Community - all populations interacting within an area
    • Ecosystem - all biotic and abiotic components interacting within an area
  • Biotic Components
    • Producers - provide energy input into an ecosystem; organisms capable of photosynthesis
    • Consumers - organisms that obtain their energy from other sources
    • Detritus feeders - organisms that feed on waste and dead material
    • Decomposers - break down organic materials into their elemental components
  • Types of Consumers
    • Herbivores - eat plant material
    • Carnivores - meat eaters
    • Omnivores - eat both plants and meat
    • It’s all about energy transfer. . .
    • Living organisms need energy to maintain life
    • The source of all energy on Earth is originally the Sun
    • Producers trap the sun’s energy and convert it to chemical energy
    • 6CO 2 + 6H 2 O C 6 H 12 0 6 + 6O 2
    • The energy in plant tissues is transferred to consumers through feeding relationships
    • The final energy users are the detritus feeders and decomposers
    • Producers are referred to as autotrophs because they produce their own food
    • Consumers and detritus feeders and decomposers are heterotrophs because they must obtain their nutrition from another source
    • At each energy transfer there is a loss of energy to the surroundings…
    • Ecosystems follow the laws of thermodynamics
    • Energy can neither be created nor destroyed
    • As energy is transferred from one system to another, there is an
    • inevitable loss of energy from the system - often due to friction
    • In living systems, much of the energy loss is due to usage by the organisms
    • Energy is used for growth, movement, reproduction, and other metabolic processes
    • Energy is lost to the atmosphere as radiant heat
    • In general, there is a 90% available energy reduction between each trophic (feeding) level
  • To add perspective. . .
    • An area of a field has a 9 pound hawk
    • It would take 90 pounds of snake to support the hawk
    • It would take 900 pounds of mice to support the snakes
    • It would take 9,000 pounds of grass to support the mice
  • Of course it is not this simple. . .
    • The relationships seen so far have been linear relationships - food chains
    • In nature, feeding relationships are much more complex - food webs
    • A great deal of complexity indicates a well established ecosystem
    • Through time, creatures have established niches, their places in the environment
    • Most consumers can eat a variety of foods so that if one food source becomes scarce, they have other avenues to obtain their nutrition
  • Now it is your turn… Choose a type of ecosystem to diagram a food web. Be certain to label all components!
  • Types of Ecosystems to choose from…
    • Prairie grassland
    • Coniferous forest
    • Tropical rain forest
    • Temperate rain forest
    • Temperate deciduous forest
    • Desert
    • Tundra
    • savannah
    • Wetland (estuary)
    • Pond/lake
    • River
    • Coral reef
    • Intertidal zone
    • Open ocean