• Population dynamics is the branch of life
sciences that studies short-term and long-term
changes in the size and age composition of
populations, and
the biological and environmental processes
influencing those changes.


ECOLOGICAL SUCCESSION • Ecological succession is the observed process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time. The time scale can be decades (for example. . after a wildfire). or even millions of years after a mass extinction.

Changes in an ecological community over time .

TWO MAIN TYPES • Primary Succession .

• Secondary Succession .

A climax community is the final stage of succession. remaining relatively unchanged until destroyed by an event such as fire or human interference.CLIMAX COMMINITIES • An ecological community in which populations of plants or animals remain stable and exist in balance with each other and their environment. .

Australia is an example of a climax forest ecosystem. .The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland.


classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment" (Campbell). .• Biomes are defined as "the world's major communities.


temperate and tundra • Aquatic biomes (including freshwater biomes and marine biomes) .• A fundamental classification of biomes are: • Terrestrial (land) biomes which includes grassland. tropical rainforest.


The Terrestrial Biomes .



Terrestrial biomes are distinguished primarily by their predominant vegetation. . and are mainly determined by temperature and rainfall.

DESERTS OR DUNES • Although few animals and plants are adapted to the extremely dry desert life. The desert is important because it covers about a fifth of the earth's surface! There are both hot and cold deserts. the desert is a vital biome. Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. . . while the Sahara in Africa is the largest of the hot deserts.


where high pressure prevails. These occur in the subtropics. generally on the western side of the continents.Types of Desert • Subtropical desert. Examples of this type of desert are the Sonoran (SN).5 to about 30o latitude. . and Mojave (MH) deserts. from 23. Chihuahuan (CU). • Rain shadow desert in which a mountain range blocks moisture from reaching the downstream desert. This high pressure pushes moisture away from these areas. An example of this type is the Great Basin Desert.

Some deciduous trees also may be present . and Asia. cold winters and short. wet summers. Europe. located in a band across northern North America. Few species of trees are present. Long. these are primarily conifers that grow in dense stands with little undergrowth.Coniferous or boreal forest. This terrestrial biome also occurs at high elevations.TAIGA • Taiga .


but may be somewhat seasonal. Precipitation is typically not limiting. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. both temperate and tropical. are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground.RAINFOREST • Rainforests. .


deciduous .23. • Tropical rainforest .5? of the equator in areas where rainfall is abundant (more than 250 cm/year) and the dry season. This terrestrial biome is characterized by moderate to large seasonal changes in temperature. however. rainfall. is brief.Types of Rainforest • Temperate forest and rainforest . Forests are very diverse floristically and structurally. is usually more evenly distributed. if any. Temperate rainforests may experience less seasonal change in temperature. Leaves of deciduous trees drop during autumn and winter. trees sometimes reach great heights.A terrestrial biome found within 23.5 degrees N or S latitude).Forests occuring at temperate latitudes (&gt. Most trees are evergreen.

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (&gt. • Temperate grassland . Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses. • Tropical savanna and grassland . Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available.5? N or S latitude).GRASSLAND • An area dominated by grasses. such as a prairie or meadow.23. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and .


TUNDRA • The tundra biome is the coldest of all biomes. • The word tundra comes from a Finnish word that means treeless plain. . which is a good description of the biome. • The tundra covers about one fifth of the land on earth.

but large plants are rare since their roots cannot penetrate the permafrost or absorb water and nutrients from it. and grasses thrive. • Mosses. .•Tundra communities are found within the Arctic Circle and on high mountaintops at all latitudes due to the similar conditions there. lichens.


often qualifying as desert. usually from September to July.Types of Tundra • Arctic tundra (T) is found in the northernmost latitudes where harsh cold and permafrost prevent tree growth. Alpine tundra gets a great deal of snow. and has a very short growing season. Despite the common appearance of snow much of this biome is actually very dry. . • Alpine tundra (A) is at the highest altitudes on mountains.

FOREST • Forest biomes are dominated by trees. otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality. .

Types of Forest • Temperate forest . however. Leaves of deciduous trees drop during autumn and winter.Forests occuring at temperate latitudes (&gt.5 degrees N or S latitude). • Tropical deciduous forest .A terrestrial biome similar to tropical rainforest and found at the same latitudes.23. but rainy and dry seasons are more distinct and the total amount of rainfall is . rainfall. This terrestrial biome is characterized by moderate to large seasonal changes in temperature. is usually more evenly distributed.


. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo. spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves.CHAPARRAL • Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude. May be maintained by periodic fire. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense. in areas with a Mediterranean climate.



Aquatic biomes .

most life forms would be unable to sustain themselves and the Earth would be a barren. • Aquatic regions house numerous species of plants and animals. Although water temperatures can vary widely. covering nearly 75% of the Earth's surface. desert-like place. .Aquatic biomes • Water is the common link among the five biomes and it makes up the largest part of the biosphere. • Without water. aquatic areas tend to be more humid and the air temperature on the cooler side. both large and small.

Marine . Freshwater 2.• The aquatic biome can be broken down into two basic regions: 1.

• Freshwater: ▫ Ponds and lakes ▫ Streams and rivers ▫ Wetlands ▫ Marine:  Oceans  Coral reefs  Estuaries .

Freshwater Regions • Freshwater is defined as having a low salt concentration. • Plants and animals in freshwater regions are adjusted to the low salt content and would not be able to survive in areas of high salt concentration (i.e. . ocean). usually less than 1%.

Ponds and Lakes • Many ponds are seasonal. • Ponds and lakes may have limited species diversity since they are often isolated from one another and from other water sources like rivers and oceans. . lasting just a couple of months (such as sessile pools) while lakes may exist for hundreds of years or more.

clams. and amphibians. which can include several species of algae. crustaceans. • This zone is the warmest since it is shallow and can absorb more of the Sun’s heat.• Lakes and ponds are divided into three different “zones” which are usually determined by depth and distance from the shoreline. • The topmost zone near the shore of a lake or pond is the LITTORAL ZONE. rooted and floating aquatic plants. . grazing snails. insects. It sustains a fairly diverse community. fishes.

• The limnetic zone is well-lighted (like the littoral zone) and is dominated by plankton. • A variety of freshwater fish also occupy this zone. .• The near-surface open water surrounded by the littoral zone is the LIMNETIC ZONE. both phytoplankton and zooplankton.

when they die. the PROFUNDAL ZONE. Little light penetrates all the way through the limnetic zone into the profundal zone. • This zone is much colder and denser than the other two. • The fauna are heterotrophs. meaning that they eat dead organisms and use oxygen for cellular respiration.• Plankton have short life spans. they fall into the deep-water part of the lake/pond. .


Streams and Rivers • These are bodies of flowing water moving in one direction. Streams and rivers can be found everywhere. which may be springs. they get their starts at headwaters. . snowmelt or even lakes. usually another water channel or the ocean. and then travel all the way to their mouths.

• The water is also clearer, has higher
oxygen levels, and freshwater fish such
as trout and heterotrophs can be found
• Towards the middle part of the
stream/river, the width increases, as
does species diversity, numerous
aquatic green plants and algae can be

• Wetlands are areas of standing water
that support aquatic plants. Marshes,
swamps, and bogs are all considered
wetlands. Plant species adapted to the
very moist and humid conditions are
called hydrophytes. These include pond
lilies, cattails, sedges, tamarack, and
black spruce.
• Wetlands have the highest species
diversity of all ecosystems. Many species
of amphibians, reptiles, birds (such as
ducks and waders), and furbearers can


• Marine algae supply much of the world’s oxygen supply and take in a huge amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.Marine Regions • Marine regions cover about threefourths of the Earth’s surface and include oceans. coral reefs. and estuaries. .

the ocean regions are separated into separate zones: intertidal. Some say that the ocean contains the richest diversity of species even though it contains fewer species than there are on land.Oceans • The largest of all the ecosystems. pelagic. abyssal. and benthic. • Like ponds and lakes. oceans are very large bodies of water that dominate the Earth’s surface. .

. as waves and tides come in and out. just like ponds and lakes. basically the open ocean. there is thermal stratification with a constant mixing of warm and cold ocean currents. • The PELAGIC ZONE includes those waters further from the land.• The INTERTIDAL ZONE is where the ocean meets the land—sometimes it is submerged and at other times exposed. The pelagic zone is generally cold though it is hard to give a general temperature range since.

but low in nutritional content. high in oxygen content. highly pressured. The abyssal zone supports many species of invertebrates and fishes.• The BENTHIC ZONE is the area below the pelagic zone. . and/or dead organisms. • The deep ocean is the ABYSSAL ZONE. slit. but does not include the very deepest parts of the ocean. The bottom of the zone consists of sand. The water in this region is very cold (around 3° C).


sea urchins. octopuses. invertebrates. the dominant organisms in coral reefs are corals. the fauna include several species of microorganisms. Corals are interesting since they consist of both algae and tissues of animal polyp. • Besides corals. • Naturally. . fringing islands. and sea stars. They can be found as barriers along continents.Coral Reefs • Coral reefs are widely distributed in warm shallow waters. and atolls. fishes.


and macroflora. including a variety of worms. and waterfowl. This mixing of waters with such different salt concentrations creates a very interesting and unique ecosystem. • Microflora like algae. marsh grasses. . such as seaweeds. can be found here. crabs. • Estuaries support a diverse fauna. oysters. and mangrove trees (only in the tropics).Estuaries • Estuaries are areas where freshwater streams or rivers merge with the ocean.


Biodiversity • "Biodiversity" is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms. inter alia. species. this includes diversity within species. between species. terrestrial. marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part. species diversity and species richness. . and ecosystems of a region • It is the variability among living organisms from all sources including. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the "totality of genes.

.IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY • Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species. no matter how small. all have an important role to play.

.• A larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops • Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms • Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.