A.A. Ecology: The scientific study of interactionsEcology: The scientific study of interactions
amongamong organisms and between organisms andorganisms and between organisms and
their environment or surroundings.their environment or surroundings.
B.B. Biosphere: contains the combined portions of theBiosphere: contains the combined portions of the
planet in which all life exists, including land,planet in which all life exists, including land,
water and air or atmosphere.water and air or atmosphere.
1.1. It extends 8 km above the earthIt extends 8 km above the earth
2.2. and 11 km below the surface of the ocean.and 11 km below the surface of the ocean.
IIII Levels of OrganizationLevels of Organization
A.A. Species: A group of organisms that are so similarSpecies: A group of organisms that are so similar
to one another that they can breed and produceto one another that they can breed and produce
fertile offspring.fertile offspring.
B.B. Population: Groups of individuals that belong toPopulation: Groups of individuals that belong to
the same species and live in the same area.the same species and live in the same area.
C.C. Communities: Assemblages of differentCommunities: Assemblages of different
populations that live together in a defined area.populations that live together in a defined area.
D.D. Ecosystem: This is a collection of all theEcosystem: This is a collection of all the
organisms that live in a particular area togetherorganisms that live in a particular area together
with the living and non-living environment.with the living and non-living environment.
E.E. Biome: A group of ecosystems that have the sameBiome: A group of ecosystems that have the same
climate and similar dominant communities.climate and similar dominant communities.
IIIIII Energy FlowEnergy Flow
A.A. Producers: Organisms that make (produce)Producers: Organisms that make (produce)
their own food.their own food.
1.1. Autotroph: Plants, algae and bacteria thatAutotroph: Plants, algae and bacteria that
can capture energy from sunlight orcan capture energy from sunlight or
chemicals and use that energy to producechemicals and use that energy to produce
2.2. Photosynthesis: The use of sunlight byPhotosynthesis: The use of sunlight by
autotrophs to power chemical reactionsautotrophs to power chemical reactions
that convert carbon dioxide and water tothat convert carbon dioxide and water to
oxygen and sugar.oxygen and sugar.
3.3. Chemosynthesis: This is a process used byChemosynthesis: This is a process used by
autotrophs that have no access to sunlightautotrophs that have no access to sunlight
(ocean(ocean depths) and rely on chemical bondsdepths) and rely on chemical bonds
of inorganic molecules to obtain energy.of inorganic molecules to obtain energy.
1.1. Organisms that must consume otherOrganisms that must consume other
organismsorganisms in order to obtain food and energy.in order to obtain food and energy.
They cannotThey cannot produce food by usingproduce food by using
energy from the sun orenergy from the sun or chemical bonds.chemical bonds.
These organisms are alsoThese organisms are also calledcalled
2.2. Heterotrophs (consumers)Heterotrophs (consumers)
a.a. Herbivores: eat only plantsHerbivores: eat only plants
b.b. Carnivores:Carnivores: eat only other animalseat only other animals
c.c. Omnivores: eat plants and/or animals.Omnivores: eat plants and/or animals.
d.d. Detrivores (scavenger): feed on deadDetrivores (scavenger): feed on dead
plants orplants or animals (earthworms, snails,animals (earthworms, snails,
vultures, etc.).vultures, etc.).
e.e. Decomposers: break down organicDecomposers: break down organic
matter andmatter and return nutrients to the earthreturn nutrients to the earth
IVIV Feeding Relationships (Energy Flow)Feeding Relationships (Energy Flow)
A.A. Energy flows through an ecosystem inEnergy flows through an ecosystem in
oneone direction from the sun todirection from the sun to
autotrophs (producers)autotrophs (producers) to heterotrophsto heterotrophs
B.B. Food Chain: A series of steps by which energyFood Chain: A series of steps by which energy
stored in producers is passed on to consumersstored in producers is passed on to consumers byby
eating oreating or being eaten.being eaten.
Plants Deer Mountain lion
C.C. Food Web: A complex network of food chains in anFood Web: A complex network of food chains in an
VV Ecological PyramidEcological Pyramid
A.A. Energy PyramidEnergy Pyramid
1.1. A diagram that shows the relativeA diagram that shows the relative
amounts ofamounts of energy contained in each trophicenergy contained in each trophic
level of a foodlevel of a food chain or web.chain or web.
2.2. Producers are able to keep about 50% ofProducers are able to keep about 50% of
thethe energy they get from the sun.energy they get from the sun.
3.3. Each succeeding level of the energyEach succeeding level of the energy
pyramidpyramid (herbivores, carnivores) transfers(herbivores, carnivores) transfers
only 10% ofonly 10% of the available energy in thatthe available energy in that
trophic level.trophic level.
B.B. Biomass Pyramid: Shows the total amount of livingBiomass Pyramid: Shows the total amount of living
tissue in each trophic leveltissue in each trophic level
VIVI Cycles of MatterCycles of Matter
A.A. The Water CycleThe Water Cycle
2.2. Transpiration: evaporation of waterTranspiration: evaporation of water
through thethrough the leaves.leaves.
3.3. Condensation: cooling of water in theCondensation: cooling of water in the
6.6. Seepage into the ground and root uptakeSeepage into the ground and root uptake..
B.B. Carbon CycleCarbon Cycle
1.1. Photosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxidePhotosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxide
from thefrom the atmosphere to make glucose andatmosphere to make glucose and
release oxygen.release oxygen.
2.2. Animals breathe in oxygen and releaseAnimals breathe in oxygen and release
carboncarbon dioxide into the atmosphere.dioxide into the atmosphere.
3.3. Carbon dioxide is also released into theCarbon dioxide is also released into the
atmosphere from volcanic eruptions andatmosphere from volcanic eruptions and
wastewaste products of industry.products of industry.
C.C. Nitrogen CycleNitrogen Cycle
1.1. Nitrogen is important to all organismsNitrogen is important to all organisms
because itbecause it is used to make proteins.is used to make proteins.
2.2. Most of the Earth’s nitrogen is in the form ofMost of the Earth’s nitrogen is in the form of
nitrogen gas that makes up 78% of ournitrogen gas that makes up 78% of our
atmosphere.atmosphere. Most organisms cannot use nitrogen inMost organisms cannot use nitrogen in
this form.this form.
3.3. Nitrogen fixation: The conversion nitrogenNitrogen fixation: The conversion nitrogen
gas intogas into ammonia by bacteria on the roots ofammonia by bacteria on the roots of
legumes and inlegumes and in soils (decomposers)soils (decomposers)
4.4. Nitrifying bacteria convert ammonia intoNitrifying bacteria convert ammonia into
nitrates ornitrates or nitrites that can be absorbed by plants.nitrites that can be absorbed by plants.
5.5. Denitrifying bacteria convert nitrates intoDenitrifying bacteria convert nitrates into
D.D. Phosphorus cyclePhosphorus cycle
1.1. Phosphorus is necessary for thePhosphorus is necessary for the
production ofproduction of ATP, DNA and RNA.ATP, DNA and RNA.
2.2. It is found in rock, soil minerals and inIt is found in rock, soil minerals and in
3.3. Phosphorus is absorbed by plants from thePhosphorus is absorbed by plants from the
soilsoil and passed on from producer to consumerand passed on from producer to consumer
in thein the food chain.food chain.
VII Nutrient Limitation
A. Primary productivity: The rate at which
organic matter is created in an ecosystem.
B. Limiting nutrient: A nutrient that is
scarce or cycles slowly and controls the
productivity of an ecosystem.
C. Algal bloom: An immediate increase in
the amount of algae in an aquatic
environment as a result of a large input of a
VIIIVIII Role of ClimateRole of Climate
A.A. Climate: The average, year-after-year,Climate: The average, year-after-year,
conditions of temperature and rainfallconditions of temperature and rainfall
in ain a particular region. Weather is the day-particular region. Weather is the day-
to-dayto-day conditions in an area.conditions in an area.
B.B. The greenhouse effect: A situation inThe greenhouse effect: A situation in
whichwhich carbon dioxide, methane, watercarbon dioxide, methane, water
vapor andvapor and other gases trap heat energy andother gases trap heat energy and
maintainmaintain the Earth’s temperature.the Earth’s temperature.
C.C. The effect of latitude on climateThe effect of latitude on climate
1.1. Distance from the equator (latitude)Distance from the equator (latitude)
andand the tilt of the Earth on its axis resultthe tilt of the Earth on its axis result
inin three main climate zonesthree main climate zones
a)a) Polar zonePolar zone
c)c) Tropical zoneTropical zone
IXIX Elements of an EcosystemElements of an Ecosystem
A.A. Biotic factors: All the livingBiotic factors: All the living
organisms inorganisms in an ecosysteman ecosystem
B.B. Abiotic factors: All the non-livingAbiotic factors: All the non-living
thingsthings in anin an ecosystemecosystem
4.4. Atmospheric gasesAtmospheric gases
C.C. Habitat: The place where an organism livesHabitat: The place where an organism lives
(address) which includes the biotic and abiotic(address) which includes the biotic and abiotic
D.D. Niche: The full range of physical and biologicalNiche: The full range of physical and biological
conditions in which an organism lives and theconditions in which an organism lives and the
way in which it uses those conditionsway in which it uses those conditions
E.E. Community InteractionsCommunity Interactions
1.1. Competitive exclusion principle:Competitive exclusion principle:
No twoNo two species can occupy the samespecies can occupy the same
niche at theniche at the same time. Competitionsame time. Competition
between speciesbetween species determines whodetermines who
will occupy the niche.will occupy the niche.
2.2. Predation: One organism capturesPredation: One organism captures
andand feeds off another organism.feeds off another organism.
3.3. Symbiosis: Any relationship in which two speciesSymbiosis: Any relationship in which two species
live closely together.live closely together.
a.a. Mutualism (+,+): Both species benefit from theMutualism (+,+): Both species benefit from the
Example: flower provides nectar for insectsExample: flower provides nectar for insects
and theand the insects help the flowers to reproduce.insects help the flowers to reproduce.
b.b. Commensalism (+, 0): One organism benefitsCommensalism (+, 0): One organism benefits
and theand the other is neither benefited nor harmed.other is neither benefited nor harmed.
Example:Example: Barnacles on the skin of whales.Barnacles on the skin of whales.
Barnacles are able toBarnacles are able to get food as water passesget food as water passes
over the swimming whale.over the swimming whale.
c.c. Parasitism (+, - ): One organism benefits andParasitism (+, - ): One organism benefits and
thethe other are harmed.other are harmed.
Example: Pinworms in a human.Example: Pinworms in a human.
F.F. Ecological Succession: The series ofEcological Succession: The series of
predictable changes that occur in anpredictable changes that occur in an
ecosystem over time.ecosystem over time.
1.1. Primary succession: Succession that occursPrimary succession: Succession that occurs
on surfaces where no soil ever existedon surfaces where no soil ever existed
(reforestation on a mountain after a volcanic(reforestation on a mountain after a volcanic
eruption). A pioneer organism is the firsteruption). A pioneer organism is the first
organism to appear in the area.organism to appear in the area.
2.2. Secondary succession: A disturbanceSecondary succession: A disturbance
changes the existing community withoutchanges the existing community without
removing the soil (clearing a forest).removing the soil (clearing a forest).
G. Land Biomes
1. Tropical rain forest
a. Abiotic factors: Hot and wet year round,
thin poor soil
b. Dominant plants: Broad leaf evergreen
trees (climax organism), ferns & orchids.
Canopy covering & an under story of small
c. Dominant wildlife: Herbivores (sloth's,
tapirs), predators (jaguars, piranhas).
2.2. Tropical Dry Forest - rainfall is seasonal ratherTropical Dry Forest - rainfall is seasonal rather
thanthan year roundyear round
a.a. Abiotic factors: Warm year round withAbiotic factors: Warm year round with
wet and dry seasonswet and dry seasons
b.b. Dominant plants: Tall deciduous treesDominant plants: Tall deciduous trees
(climax organism), orchids and aloes(climax organism), orchids and aloes
c.c. Dominant wildlife: tigers, monkeys andDominant wildlife: tigers, monkeys and
d.d. Geographic distribution: Africa, South &Geographic distribution: Africa, South &
Central America, India and Mexico.Central America, India and Mexico.
3. Tropical Savanna
a. Abiotic factors: warm temperatures,
seasonal rainfall but not enough to support
trees, compact soil.
b. Dominant plants: tall grasses (climax
c. Dominant wildlife: lions, leopards,
cheetahs, elephants, etc.
d. Geographic distribution: Africa, Australia
a. Abiotic factors: low precipitation and
b. Dominant plants: cacti (climax organisms)
and occasional bushes
c. Dominant wildlife: mountain lions, gray
foxes, deer, etc.
5.5. Temperate grasslandTemperate grassland
a.a. Abiotic factors: warm to hot summers,Abiotic factors: warm to hot summers,
coldcold winters, moderate seasonal precipitationwinters, moderate seasonal precipitation
&& fertile soil.fertile soil.
b.b. Dominant plant: lush perennial grassesDominant plant: lush perennial grasses
(climax organisms) and herbs.(climax organisms) and herbs.
c.c. Dominant wildlife: coyotes, badgers,Dominant wildlife: coyotes, badgers,
bearsbears and deerand deer
6. Temperate Woodland and Shrubland
a. Abiotic factors: hot dry summers, cool mild
winters and thin nutrient soil.
b. Dominant plants: evergreen shrubs
c. Dominant wildlife: coyotes, foxes, bear, deer,
d. Geographic distribution: West coast of North and
South America and Mediterranean basin.
7.7. Temperate ForestTemperate Forest
a.a. Abiotic factors: cold to moderate winters,Abiotic factors: cold to moderate winters,
warmwarm summers, fertile soil.summers, fertile soil.
b.b. Dominant plants: broadleaf deciduousDominant plants: broadleaf deciduous
treestrees (climax organism) and some pine trees(climax organism) and some pine trees
c.c. Dominant wildlife: deer, black bear,Dominant wildlife: deer, black bear,
8. Northwestern Coniferous Forest
a. Abiotic factors: cold winters, cool mild
summers, abundant rain
b. Dominant plants: Douglas fir, Sitka spruce
c. Dominant wildlife: bear, elk and deer
9. Boreal Forest (Taiga)
a. Abiotic factors: long cold winters and short cool
summers, nutrient poor soils.
b. Dominant plants: needle-leaf conifers (climax
c. Dominant wildlife: lynx, timber wolves, moose
d. Geographic distribution: N. America, Asia and
a.a. Abiotic factors: permafrostAbiotic factors: permafrost
(permanently(permanently frozen subsoil), lowfrozen subsoil), low
precipitation, short soggyprecipitation, short soggy summers, long,summers, long,
cold, dark winters.cold, dark winters.
b.b. Dominant plants: mosses, lichens andDominant plants: mosses, lichens and
c.c. Dominant wildlife: foxes, caribou andDominant wildlife: foxes, caribou and
XX Aquatic EcosystemsAquatic Ecosystems
A.A. Fresh Water EcosystemsFresh Water Ecosystems
1.1. Flowing-water ecosystems:Flowing-water ecosystems:
rivers,rivers, streams, etc.streams, etc.
2.2. Standing-water ecosystem: lakesStanding-water ecosystem: lakes
a)a) Plankton: tiny, free-floatingPlankton: tiny, free-floating
organisms,organisms, live inlive in fresh &fresh &
b)b) Phytoplankton: single-celledPhytoplankton: single-celled
c)c) Zooplankton: plankton areZooplankton: plankton are
animals thatanimals that feed on phytoplanktonfeed on phytoplankton
3.3. Freshwater Wetlands: An ecosystem in whichFreshwater Wetlands: An ecosystem in which
water covers the soil at least part of thewater covers the soil at least part of the
a)a) Bogs: depressions left by glaciers andBogs: depressions left by glaciers and
covered by moss.covered by moss.
b)b) Marshes: wetlands along rivers and contain cattails
c)c) Swamps: similar to a marsh except that a swampSwamps: similar to a marsh except that a swamp
contains trees.contains trees.
1. Wetlands that form where rivers meet seas
2. Detritus: tiny pieces of organic material that
provide for organisms at the base of an
estuaries food chain.
C. Salt marshes: Temperate Zone estuaries
dominated by salt-tolerant grasses.
D. Mangrove swamps: Coastal wetlands across
tropical regions (Florida everglades).
C. Marine Ecosystems
1. Photic regions: where photosynthesis can take
2. Aphotic regions: below 200 meters where no light
3. Intertidal zone: low tide zone
4. Coastal zone: from low tide area to the
5. Coral Reefs: coastal, tropical regions inhabited by
6. Open ocean: from the continental shelf (500
meters out) to 11,000 meters in depth.
7. Benthic zone: ocean floor
XI Man’s Impact on the Environment
A. Renewable and Non-renewable Resources
1. Renewable resource: Resources that can
be regenerated and replaced.
2. Non-renewable resource: Resources that
cannot be replaced by natural processes.
3. Sustainable use: Using natural resources
in a way that doesn’t deplete them.
4. Desertification: Turning once productive
areas into deserts by a combination of
farming, overgrazing and drought.
5.5. Deforestation: loss of forests can cause soil erosionDeforestation: loss of forests can cause soil erosion
when soil is exposed to heavy rains.when soil is exposed to heavy rains.
6.6. Aquaculture: The farming of aquatic organisms toAquaculture: The farming of aquatic organisms to
replace those that have become scarce.replace those that have become scarce.
7.7. Acid Rain: Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen andAcid Rain: Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen and
sulfur compounds from smoke stacks into thesulfur compounds from smoke stacks into the
atmosphere that combine with water vapor toatmosphere that combine with water vapor to
formform nitric and sulfuric acid or acid rainnitric and sulfuric acid or acid rain
1.1. Biodiversity: The sum total of the geneticallyBiodiversity: The sum total of the genetically
basedbased variety of all organisms in the biosphere.variety of all organisms in the biosphere.
2.2. Ecosystem diversity: The variety of habitats,Ecosystem diversity: The variety of habitats,
communities and ecological processes in the living world.communities and ecological processes in the living world.
3.3. Species Diversity: The number of differentSpecies Diversity: The number of different
species inspecies in the biosphere.the biosphere.
4.4. Genetic Diversity: The total of all the differentGenetic Diversity: The total of all the different
geneticgenetic information carried by organisms livinginformation carried by organisms living
on the Earth.on the Earth.
5.5. Benefits of biodiversity: foods, industrialBenefits of biodiversity: foods, industrial
products andproducts and medicines.medicines.
6.6. Threats to Biodiversity:Threats to Biodiversity:
a)a) Altering habitatsAltering habitats: destroys species in them and: destroys species in them and
cancan produce “biological islands” or habitatproduce “biological islands” or habitat
fragmentationfragmentation that is more vulnerable to changes.that is more vulnerable to changes.
b)b) Over-hunting:Over-hunting: harms food chains and websharms food chains and webs
c)c) Introducing toxic compounds into food webs:Introducing toxic compounds into food webs:
causescauses biological magnificationbiological magnification. The concentration of. The concentration of
harmfulharmful substances increases in organisms atsubstances increases in organisms at
higher trophichigher trophic levels in the food chain.levels in the food chain.
d)d) Introducing a foreign species into newIntroducing a foreign species into new
environmentsenvironments:: can result in the new species becomingcan result in the new species becoming
an invasivean invasive species. The invasive species will growspecies. The invasive species will grow
rapidly andrapidly and replace nativereplace native species because it has nospecies because it has no
7. Conserving Biodiversity
a) Using biological controls (predators) rather than
pesticides or herbicides to control pest populations
b) Plant and wildlife preserves prevent over hunting
c) Pass laws to prevent harmful effects on the environment.
d) Reduce the amount of chlorofluorohydrocarbons
(CFC) into the atmosphere that destroys the ozone layer.
Reduction in the ozone layer causes increased
exposure to UV light that can cause skin cancer.
e) Reduce the emission of “green house gases” like
carbon dioxide that cause global warming.