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Ecology An Introduction To Ecology And The Biosphere

3396 words - 14 pages

An Introduction to Ecology and the BiosphereThe Scope of EcologyI. Ecology (Greek)A. Scientific study of the interactions between organisms and their environmentB. Involve organisms with open systemsC. Naturalists made the process of observing and describing organisms in their natural habitats an end in itselfD. Becoming increasingly experimentalE. Rapidly growing and exciting science due to field experimentsII. The interactions between organisms and their environment determine the distribution and abundance of organismsA. Ecologists use observations and manipulative experiments to test hypothesesB. Sophisticated computer programs develop models that predict the effects that human activities will have on a climate and how the resulting climatic changes will affect geographic distributionC. Some environments of organisms include abiotic components, which are nonliving and physical factors (temp., light, water)D. Some environments of organisms include biotic components, which are all the organisms that are part of any individual's environmentE. Other organisms compete for food and resources, prey upon it, or change its environmentIII. Ecology and evolutionary biology are closely related sciencesA. Geographic distribution of organisms and their exquisite adaptations to specific environments provided Darwin with evidence for evolutionB. An important cause of evolutionary change is the interaction of organisms with their environmentC. Events that occur in the framework of ecological time (minutes, months, years) translate into the effects over the longer scale of evolutionary time (decades, centuries, millennia, and longer)IV. Ecological research ranges from the adaptations of individual organisms to the dynamics of the biosphereA. Four levels of ecological study: organismal, population, community, and ecosystemB. Organismal ecology is concerned with the morphological, physiological, and behavioral ways in which individual organisms meet the challenges posed by the way their biotic and abiotic environmentsC. Population ecology concentrates mainly on factors that affect how many individuals of a species live in an areaD. Community ecology deals with the whole array of interacting species in a community. Focuses on predation, competition, and disease, which affect community structure and organizationE. Ecosystem ecology is the emphasis on energy flow and the cycling chemicals among the various biotic and abiotic componentsF. Landscape ecology is beyond the four basic levels because it deals with arrays of ecosystems and how they are arranged in a geographic region. It focuses on the ways in which interactions among populations, communities, and ecosystems are affected by the juxtaposition of different ecosystems.G. The biosphere is the global ecosystem - the sum of all the planet's ecosystems. Includes the atmosphere, the land down to and water-bearing rocks, lakes and streams, caves, and the oceansV. Ecology provides a scientific context for evaluating...

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