Ecology - The Biosphere

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Ecology - The Biosphere

  1. 1. EcologyChapter 3: The Biosphere 1
  2. 2. What is Ecology?• Ecology – the study of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment• Levels of Organization – Biosphere – the largest of the areas of the earth containing the portion of the planet that life exists, including land, water and air (atmosphere) 2
  3. 3. Levels of Organization 3
  4. 4. Levels of Organization• Individual – similar organism (can mate)• Population – group of individuals that live in the same area• Community – populations that live together is a defined area• Ecosystem – all the organisms that live in a similar area along with the nonliving material• Biome – group of ecosystems (similar climate)• Biosphere – entire earth 4
  5. 5. Ecological Methods• Scientists use 3 basic methods to conduct ecological research – Observing – qualitative and quantitative observations – Experimenting – used to test hypotheses, can set up artificial environments and manipulate conditions – Modeling – models are made to study events that have occurred over large time periods, or are large in scale 5
  6. 6. Interactions Among Organisms• Sunlight is the main energy source for life on Earth• Producers – autotrophs (make their own energy (using the sun) –Photosynthesis – using light to produce energy / food –Chemosynthesis – using inorganic molecules to produce energy / food 6
  7. 7. Interactions (continued)• Consumers – heterotrophs (cannot make their own energy) – Herbivores – consume plants – Carnivores - consume meat – Omnivores – consume both – Detritovores – dead or decaying matter (earthworms, mites, crabs (animals) – Decomposers – dead or decaying matter (bacteria & fungus) 7
  8. 8. Energy Transfer / Feeding Relationships• Food Chain / Food Web – series of steps of energy transfer (web = connected food chains)• Trophic Levels – each step in a food chain 8
  9. 9. Ecological Pyramids• Diagram that shows relative amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a food chain or food web.• Energy Pyramid – energy available at each trophic level (10% rule)• Biomass Pyramid – amount of living tissue• Pyramid of Numbers - # of individuals 9
  10. 10. Examples of Pyramids 10
  11. 11. Biogeochemical Cycles• Water Cycle – Evaporation, precipitation, condensation, transpiration, run-off, ground water 11
  12. 12. Biogeochemical Cycles• Carbon Cycle – carbon fixation, CO2• Photosynthesis, respiration• Fossil fuels• Human Activites – Mining, cutting forests, burning fossil fuels 12
  13. 13. Biogeochemical Cycles• Nitrogen cycle – nitrogen fixation (bacteria), denitrification 13
  14. 14. Nutrient Limitation• Primary Productivity – rate of production of organic matter by producers• Limiting Nutrients – nutrient that limits productivity• Aquatic ecosystems – large input of limiting nutrient can cause an increase of algae or producers = algal bloom 14

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