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Biology- Patterns in Nature Notes

Ecology: the study of how organisms interact with other organisms and their physical surroundings. Ecosystem: is any given space containing living organisms interacting with each other and the non-living parts of that environment. It is a system that involves the exchange of materials and energy between organisms and their environment. Environment: the total range of conditions under which members of a species live and reproduce. It includes both the abiotic and biotic environment. Abiotic environment: physical and chemical part or the non-living environment. Includes soil, water/rainfall/salinity, light, and temperature. Biotic environment: living organisms, present in the environment and includes the presence of predators, parasites, and competition between same and different species, distribution and interactions. Terrestrial environment. Aquatic environment: Organisms that live in water live in an aquatic environment. Natural Man-made Saltwater Freshwater Forests, mountains, deserts, grasslands. Farms, cities. Oceans, seas, estuaries, rock platforms Lakes, ponds and swamps which are mostly still. Springs, rivers and streams which have constant movement. Terrestrial environment Aquatic environment environment: Organisms that live on land live in a terrestrial

Number of organisms in = the whole ecosystem

Area of the whole ecosystem Quadrat size X no. of quadrats counted

Number of organisms found in sample

Abundance: the no. of individual organisms in an area (use small samples of the community which are quadrats). Distribution: is the region where an organism is found (use profile sketch). Plan sketch: is like a profile sketch but in aerial view. Transect: is a section of a larger area, it crosses the entire field from side to side but does not take in the whole area. Capture and recapture:

Abundance =

No. of marked X no. recaptured No. of marked in recapture

Factors affecting distribution and abundance: o Physical environment factors

o o o o

Resources (e.g. food, living space, shelter, nesting site, nesting materials, oxygen, water... availability may lead to limiting factor) Interrelationships between members of different species (beneficial and detrimental)

Relationships within a species.


Beneficial relationships where one of both organisms is advantaged and neither is disadvantaged (Symbiosis). This can also be mutualism where both organisms benefit (e.g. algae + polyp make up a coral), or is can be commensalism where only one organism benefits and the other is unaffected (e.g. the anemone fish and the sea anemone)

Interrelationships between members of different species can be:

Detrimental relationships include parasitism where one organism lives in or on another organism and feeds from it. The host is the organism which the parasite feeds on (e.g. tapeworm or fleas). Competition where two organisms compete for a limited resource which often results in the elimination of the less successful organism (e.g. feral cats / foxes vs. Native carnivores). Inhibition such as alleopathy which is a type of competition. This is where one organism obtains a resource by directly inhibiting the growth or development of another, increasing its own chance of survival by reducing competition. Predation is where one organism eats another (e.g. dingoes eat wallabies).

Decomposers: organisms that use the energy of dead organisms for food and break them down into materials which can be recycled for use by other organisms (e.g. bacteria and fungi).

Trophic interactions are also feeding relationships. Autotrophs/producers: are organisms that make their own food by converting inorganic molecules to organic compounds (e.g. green plants and algae that photosynthesise)

Heterotrophs/consumers must consume other organisms in order to gain the organic molecules they need for life. These include primary consumers/herbivores (who consume plants only e.g. koalas), and secondary and tertiary consumers (which are carnivores who eat animals only e.g. crocodiles, and omnivores who eat both plants and animals e.g. ants).

Degraders include scavengers (animals that eat dead organisms), detritivores (animals that ingest organic litter or detritus and then digest it) and decomposers (fungi and bacteria that cause chemical decay of organic matter and absorb the broken down material).

Food chains/webs show the energy movement from one living thing to another.

Pyramid of numbers carnivores.

In a pyramid of numbers, large

numbers of herbivores are consumed by smaller numbers of increasingly large

Pyramids of biomass

shows the amount of biomass (total

amount of living material present at any one time) through each level of the food chain. At each level, energy (heat) and matter (food and wastes) are lost (90%). Photosynthesis is the process by which plant cells capture energy from the sun and use it to combine CO2 and H2O to make sugars and oxygen. o o o Photosynthesis is the basis of the carbon oxygen cycle along with respiration. It changes light energy from the sun into glucose. Photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplast, but the chlorophyll (the molecule that actually captures light energy) is found in membranes around the flattened vesicles called thylakoids. o Disk shaped thylakoids within the chloroplasts capture the light energy within their membranes. Photosynthesis formula: (where plants absorb CO2 and use it make all the other carbon compounds need) Water + Carbon Dioxide Sugar + Oxygen Respiration is the process by which cells obtain energy. It takes place in two stages: o o First: takes place in the cytoplasm and splits the six carbon sugar (glucose) into two three carbon sugars (pyruvate) Second: takes place in mitochondria, involves the use of oxygen and results in the complete breakdown of pyruvate into CO2 and H2O. Energy released by respiration is used for: o o o o o o Growth and repair Movement contraction of muscle cells Keeps organs working Chemical reactions Active transport of substances in the organisms To make other chemical compounds.

Respiration converts high energy compounds (glucose proteins and fats) to low energy compounds) Respiration formula: (is a summary of a chain of biochemical reactions)(the process by which they obtain energy) Carbon compounds + Oxygen Carbon dioxide + water

Carbon Cycle: The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is photosynthesised by plants. The carbon compounds in plants are either turned back into the CO2 gas by respiration or decomposers respire the carbon compounds they have from the dead plants and plant litter, or the plants are eaten then the carbon compounds in the animal are respired, the dead animal, its urine or faeces are consumed by decomposers the respired, or its fossilises into carbon compounds in coal, oil and gas and then turned back into C02 through combustion.

A difference between photosynthesis and respiration in a plant is that photosynthesis must occur only when there is light (and it is not dark), however respiration must always occur so there is no lack in energy leading to the death of the plant.

Nitrogen is important because all living things need it and many nitrogenous substances are absolutely essential to life including proteins (part of every living cell). Nitrogen composes 78% of the air.

Nitrogen fixation is what bacteria do to absorb nitrogen from the air and to use it to make proteins and other nitrogenous compounds. Adaptations: the special characteristics that allow a species to survive in its environment. Species become adapted to their natural environment through natural selection.

Natural selection: environmental factors affect an individuals chance of survival. An organism inherits its characteristics from previous generations and what it inherits may be changed or determined by mutation or recombination of genetic material.

There are three types of adaptations: o o o Structural: this is a shape feature of anatomy which helps survival e.g. webbed feet, wings or spines Behavioural: the way it behaves to help survival e.g. nocturnal animals Physiological: a functional feature of the organism which helps it to survive e.g. constriction of the blood vessels near the skin in cold climate animals.

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