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Introduction to Basic Concept of Ecology

BIO1201 Lecture 20
Introduction to Basic Concept of Ecology
Calvin R. Bernard
Overview
Ecology - Definition
Why study ecology?
Important terms in ecology Important terms in ecology
Levels of study in ecology
Ecology as a systems study
Ecology
The scientific study of the distribution, abundance
and dynamics of organisms, their interactions
with other organisms and with their physical
environment. environment.
British Ecological Society
Why study ecology?
Ecological terms - Species
A group of organisms with shared genes
capable of sexual reproduction to produce
fertile offspring. fertile offspring.
Native Naturally occurring
Alien Introduced by human influence
Invasive Alien which tends to displace natives
Ecological terms - Population
Members of one species living in a defined
area but in separate territories.
A quantitative measure
Colonies are related a group of organism living Colonies are related a group of organism living
closely together
Reduced territoriality
A subset of a population
Ecological terms - Community
Populations of species living in a defined area
(habitat/ecosystem) and interacting in various
ways. ways.
May be defined based on taxon, habitat or
ecosystem
Ecological terms - Habitat
The area in an ecosystem defines by physical
and chemical characteristics suitable for
supporting the life of a species. supporting the life of a species.
Micro-habitats - small areas within the habitat
Ecological terms Ecological Niche
The functional position of an organism within
the ecosystem.
The sum total of all the resources used by, and The sum total of all the resources used by, and
the biotic and abiotic conditions suffered by, a
species. British Ecological society
Ecological terms - Ecosystem
A biological community interacting in the
abiotic components of its habitat.
Note that the habitat sets the physical parameters Note that the habitat sets the physical parameters
of the system
Ecological terms - Biome
A collection of interacting ecosystems defined
on broad biophysical characteristics.
Tundra Tundra
Forests
Ecological terms - Biosphere
The collection of all biomes
The zone of life
Earth Earth
Ecological terms Ecological interactions
The range of ways in which individuals (same
and different species), colonies and
populations interact with each other
Predation Predation
Competition
Parasitism
Mutualism
Commensalism
Levels of study in Ecology
In practice ecological studies occur at one of
four levels
Organism Organism
Populations
Communities
Ecosystems
The division between levels is not sharp
Ecology as systems study
Ecology is the study of eco-SYSTEMS
Systems consist of two things
Components the tangible or physical Components the tangible or physical
Processes the means by which components
interact
Systems are defined by boundaries
Eco-system components
Eco-system Processes
Eco-system boundaries
Ecosystem boundaries are set based on
biophysical limits but are not solid/absolute.
Structure and function of ecosystem
BIO1201 Lecture 21
Structure and function of ecosystem
Calvin R. Bernard
Ecosystem structure
All ecosystems have structure both macro
and micro
Ecosystem structure
All components of the ecosystem interact with
others. They change and are changed by each
other.
Even the inert gases Even the inert gases
The structure of the ecosystem is determined by
the ways in which its components interact
True from atomic level to biological communities and
macro physical components
Ecosystem structure - Organism
Ecosystem structure
Population/Community
Ecosystem structure - Trophic
Ecological term Ecological Succession
The progressive replacement of one dominant type
of species or community by another in an
ecosystemuntil a stable climax community is
established. ~ Biology Online
Predictable and orderly changes in the composition or Predictable and orderly changes in the composition or
structure of an ecological community. ~ Science Daily
Ecosystem function
The fundamental function of an ecosystem is the
support of life
Biological diversity (Genes-Species-Ecosystems)
Ecological stability Ecological stability
Dependent on diversity
Low diversity + High dominance = Low stability + High productivity
High diversity + Low dominance = High stability + Low productivity
Categories of Ecosystem function
Regulating Functions
Maintenance of essential ecological processes and life support
systems.
Supporting Functions
Providing habitat (suitable living space) for wild plant and animal Providing habitat (suitable living space) for wild plant and animal
species at local and regional scales.
Provisioning Functions
Provision of natural resources.
Cultural Functions
Providing life fulfilment opportunities and cognitive
development through exposure to life processes and natural
systems.