Life Science 29 January 2008 Ecology and Ecological Relationships Ecology is the study of living things and their

relationships to 1. their environment 2. each other 3. other organisms The word “ecology” came about in 1869 by Ernst Haeckel. It comes from “ecos”(greek: oikos)- homes, and “ology”- the study of. Humans are one species. There are approximately 10 million species. We have a disproportionate impact on the environment. 1. The human population is growing exponentially. 2. Limiting factors do not affect the human population the same way they affect other populations. a. Disease-medical care has diminished the effect of disease on humans b. Climate- we can live in nearly any climate c. Predators- we have overcome the ability of predators to catch/harm us Humans thrive on 17% of the Earth’s surfaces. Biosphere- all life on Earth Populations Populations consist of only one species. Characteristics of populations 1. Size- expressed as a number 2. Density- expressed as a number per area, or number per volume 3. Distribution a. Uniform-Species are almost NEVER found in uniform distribution in nature. b. Random c. Clumped- Typically the way species are found in nature, because it results from the availability of resources 4. Dispersal rate- rate at which things disperse, or migrate 5. Growth rate and pattern- This can be figured using the formula R= B-D

where R= rate, B= birth rate, D= death rate, and N= number of species. If R is positive, rate is increasing. If R is negative, rate is decreasing. If R is 0, there is no growth. This condition of no growth is known as Zero Population Growth (ZPG)

Population Patterns: Density dependent: As density increases, limiting factors act in the following ways: disease increases, food decreases, water decreases, shelter decreases, parasitism increases, predation increases

Density independent: limiting factors such as hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, fires, droughts, blizzards

6. Age distribution-tells how the age of populations are distributed

Population age distribution charts are valuable because they are predictive- by examining them, it is possible to predict the probably population numbers in the future.

7. Populations interact with other species. a. Predator/Prey- both species benefit. Predators benefit from food source, prey benefit from the removal of the sick and weak in their population. b. Parasite/Host- one species benefits at the other’s expense. Host is typically larger than the parasite. The longer this relationship exists over time, the less detrimental it typically is to the host.

c. Symbiosis i. Commensalism- one species is generally unaffected, while the other species benefits. Ex: buffalo and cow birds, sharks and remora ii. Mutualism- both species benefit, the are so closely related that the species cannot survive without the other. This relationship can exist in huge numbers of species, and is not limited to pairs of species. d. Niche Overlap and Competitive Exclusion - Gauze’s Principle of Competitive Exclusion- “No two species may occupy the same niche at the same time in the same place” This is acceptable, because the two species do not occupy the same niche in the same place.

This is unacceptable, and the two species will compete until one drives the other away. Nocturnal- awake and active predominantly during the night Diurnal- awake and active primarily during the day Crepuscular- awake and active primarily at dusk and dawn This makes it possible for animals to occupy the same niche at the same place, as long as they aren’t active at the same time.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.