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Introduction to Ecology: Historical Foundations and Developing Frontiers

Overview of Ecology

Chapter 1

Dr. Freestone Dr. Sanders

Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.

Ecology: Study of relationships between organisms and the environment.  Simple definition does not convey the extreme breadth of this discipline. Ecosystem: Includes all organisms living in an area (biotic), and the physical environment (abiotic) with which these organisms interact.  Biosphere: Highest level of ecological organization.


The Scope of Ecology

Hierarchical Level of Organization Biosphere Region Landscape Ecosystem Community Population Individual
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Wide variety of approaches.  Variety of temporal and spatial scales.  Field  Lab  Observational  Manipulative

Note that INTERACTIONS can occur between adjacent levels AND within any of these levels.

Levels of Organization
- Physiological ecology: how individuals survive / function in their physical environment - Behavioral ecology: study of how behavior relates to an organism’s environment - OVERLAP e.g., Thermoregulation

Ecology of Bumblebees
Bernd Heinrich: effects of temperature on bumblebee energy budget  Bumblebees live in areas that are moderately cool  They must maintain a warm body temperature to fly and feed




(energy used for flying. warming body. 10 Level of Organization Community Ecology The study of the patterns & interactions among groups of species living in a particular area Interactions among species. the population of Britain was 21 million. etc. population size is a balance between opposing forces What are these opposing forces ? Birth / Immigration – Death / Emmigration J. digestion.including size growth. and the U. growth)  Any energy remaining is available to put toward reproduction 7 Level of Organization Population Ecology • Fun Facts from Philadelphia….. •Franklin theorized that because of the abundant space and resources that the colonies in America would expand by doubling in population size every 25 years until they exceeded Britain around 1850. • Benjamin Franklin was an early demographer • Studied human population . 9 • By 1850. Connell: settlement of barnacles in the intertidal zone 8 Heinrich estimated energy budget of individuals foraging on different flowers and under different temperatures  Energy Gain versus Energy Loss = Energy Intake minus Energy Expenditure  Nectar from flowers . and between suites of species and the environment • Robert MacArthur: Distribution of warbler species in northeastern U.1/31/2011 Ecology of Bumblebees • Energy budget resembles an economic budget  Level of Organization: Population Ecology The study of a collection of individuals from the same species that occupy some defined area Population ecology focuses on how and why populations change in size and location over time Like an energy budget. forests 11 Ecology of Forest Birds • MacArthur studied ecology of 5 species of warblers in spruce forests in North America  All feed on insects in the same trees  Competition theory predicted two species with identical ecological requirements could not coexist indefinitely  Studies found warblers coexisted by feeding in different zones of the same tree  this effectively reduced competition and allowed coexistence 12 2 . was 23 million. distribution.S.H.S.

number. • Typically includes all of the physical and chemical factors influencing the organisms Likens and Bormann estimated 90% of nutrients in a New Hampshire forest were locked up in soil organic matter  • Goal is to understand nutrient cycling and energy flow through ecosystems . composition.1/31/2011 Warbler Feeding Zones Forest Dynamics Plots 13 14 Level of Organization Forest Nutrient Budgets The Facts • Ecosystem Ecology • The interactions of organisms with the transport and flow of energy and matter. and species within a landscape Landscape ecology includes the biological causes and consequences of patchiness in the environment. Landscape structure influences the flow of energy. shape. materials.Likens & Bormann: Effects of plants (trees) on nutrient loss from a forested ecosystem 15 Approximately 9. 17 18 3 . and position of different ecosystems within a landscape.5 % was tied up in vegetation Streamflow output amounted to < 1% All animals accounted for only 0. Landscape structure includes: the size.5% 16   Level of Organization Landscape Ecology The study of landscape structure.

23 24 4 . Davis monitored plant pollen deposited in lake sediments in the Appalachian Mountains.1/31/2011 Habitat Fragmentation The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project near Manaus.  Documented large temporal changes to nearby plant communities. 21 22 Vegetation Change: Pollen Records • Vegetation History from Pollen Sediments • Many environmental changes occur over large spatial or temporal scales. Brazil 19 20 • “Corridors” have been employed by conservation biologists and managers to help connect isolated habitats for dispersal and movement/behavioral patterns.

1/31/2011 Outline of Course • • • • • • Natural History and Evolution Adaptations to the Environment Population Ecology Interactions Communities and Ecosystems Large-Scale Ecology 25 5 .