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Community interactions

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  • 1. Ecosystem Interactions Environmental Science
  • 2. What Shapes Ecosystems
    • Abiotic and Biotic Factors
    • Habitat – physical location where an organism lives
    • Niche – the use of the habitat by an organism (includes food, physical location, how it interacts with other organisms, etc.)
  • 3. Species Interactions
  • 4. Ways in Which Species Interact
    • These categories are based on whether each species causes benefit or harm to the other species.
    • Other types of interactions are possible.
    • Many interactions between species are indirect, some interactions do not fit in a category clearly, and other types seem possible but are rarely found. Therefore, many interactions are neither categorized nor well studied.
  • 5. Competition
    • Competition – when different individuals or populations attempt to use the same resource
      • Within a species – food, mates, territory
      • Between species – food, water
    • Competition can occur even if the individuals never meet.
      • Flowers competing for the same pollinators
  • 6. Community Interactions - Competition
    • When members of different species compete for the same resources, we say that their niches overlap.
    • These species will divide up the resources either by time or space – called niche restriction
    • Ex. Warblers in coniferous trees will live only on certain levels of the trees
    • Ex. Diurnal v. Nocturnal insects - both need the same resources, but some are only active in the day and others at night
  • 7. Community Interactions - Predation
    • Predator/Prey Relationship
      • Predator – organism that hunts/kills
      • Prey – organism that is food (e.g. cat and mouse)
    • Sometime one predator may also be another organism’s prey
  • 8. Specialists v. Generalists
    • Species that eat mostly one type of prey are called specialists
      • Ex. Canadian Lynx and the Snowshoe Hare
    • Generalists will eat whatever is easiest to find and capture
      • Ex. Coyotes or Wolves
  • 9. Symbiosis and Coevolution
    • Symbiosis – two species who live closely together
    • Overtime, species in close relationships may coevolve . These species may evolve adaptations that reduce the harm or improve the benefit of the relationship.
  • 10. Mutualism
    • Mutualism – symbiosis in which both organisms benefit – often each species depends on the other
    • Ex. Flowers and their pollinators
  • 11. Commensalism
    • Commensalism – symbiosis in which one organism benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed.
    • Even seemingly harmless activity, however, might have an effect on another species.
    Ex. Barnacles on a whale’s skin or Birds nesting in trees
  • 12. Parasitism
    • Parasitism – symbiosis in which one organism is helped and one is harmed
    • Parasite – the organism that feeds on another organism
    • Host – the organism parasite takes its nourishment from
    • Ex. Fleas and ticks
    The difference between a parasite and a predator is that a parasite does not usually kill its host.

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