Distribution & Abundance of Organisms

• Why are some organisms found in one place but not in other places?
•The kangaroo only found in Australia and not other places and with uneven distribution in Australia •This also goes for many other animal and plant species around the globe

Tasmania . with seasonal drought. cool climate. Red kangaroos occur in most semiarid and arid regions of the interior. Southern Australia has cool.2 Southeastern Australia has a wet.1–1 < 0. where precipitation is relatively low and variable from year to year. moist winters and warm. dry summers. Figure 50.Environmental components Affect the distribution and abundance of organisms Kangaroos/km2 > 20 10–20 5–10 1–5 0.1 Limits of distribution Climate in northern Australia is hot and wet.

• Darwin. Wallace & others recognized broad patterns of geographic distribution of plants and animals – Biogeographic realms – associated with Continental Drift due to Plate Tectonics and the breakup of Pangaea • Biogeography – study of the past and present distribution of individual species of plants and animals .

Biogeographical Realms .

Plate Tectonics North American Plate Juan de Fuca Plate Caribbean Plate Arabian Plate Cocos Plate Pacific Plate South American Plate Eurasian Plate Philippine Plate Indian Plate Nazca Plate African Plate Australian Plate Scotia Plate Antarctic Plate .

Many important geological processes Occur at plate boundaries or at weak points in the plates themselves Volcanoes and volcanic islands Oceanic ridge Trench Figure 26.19 .

20 Paleozoic 251 At the end of the Paleozoic. all of Earth’s landmasses were joined in the supercontinent Pangaea. forming the Himalayas. By the mid-Mesozoic.5 Millions of years ago Laurasia Mesozoic 135 Figure 26. the tallest and youngest of Earth’s major mountain ranges. Pangaea split into northern (Laurasia) and southern (Gondwana) landmasses. . 65. The continents continue to drift. Eurasia Africa South India America Madagascar Antarctica By the end of the Mesozoic. Laurasia and Gondwana separated into the present-day continents.0 Cenozoic India collided with Eurasia just 10 million years ago.

What limits the distribution of organisms in the natural environment? .

What are the factors involved? .

A series of questions are asked by Ecologists What are these Questions? .

etc. Dispersal limits distribution? No No Biotic factors (other species) limit distribution? No Abiotic factors limit distribution? Physical factors Temperature Light Soil structure Fire Moisture. etc.6 . parasitism. competition.• Biogeography – Provides a good starting point for understanding what limits the geographic distribution of species Species absent because Yes Area inaccessible or insufficient time Yes Habitat selection Yes Behavior limits distribution? Predation. Figure 50. disease Chemical factors Water Oxygen Salinity pH Soil nutrients.

Asia? – possibly because they could not get there – because of barriers to dispersal. • Dispersal is critical in understanding geographic isolation and patterns of current distribution of organisms . Africa.• Species dispersal contributes to the distribution of organisms: why no kangaroos in America.

Species Transplants • Dispersal is a key factor for limiting distribution • Some organisms can disperse and survive in new areas but cannot reproduce. • So success is determined by the ability for completing at least one life cycle in the new habitat/environment. .

Transplant Experiment To answer questions concerning distribution we must first determine whether the • limitation on distribution results from • inaccessibility of the particular area to a species. .

One way to determine this is by conducting a transplant experiment .

area not recognized by organisms as suitable – potential range > actual range • unsuccessful – limited by behaviour. too short time to reach. biotic or abiotic factors – potential range = actual range .Transplant Experiment Concept • Moving individuals of a species to an unoccupied area and determine if they can survive and reproduce successfully. • Two (2) outcomes of Transplant Experiment: • successful – limited distribution is due to area inaccessibility.


Accidental Transplants – Introduced Species • African Honey Bees – Unpredicted and undesirable consequences • African honey bee (Apis millifera scutellata) an aggressive species brought to Brazil in 1956 to breed a new variety with the Italian honey bee (Apis millifera ligustica) – It escaped and have been spreading since and these bees may drive out colonies of the Italian honey bees – These bees are aggressive towards humans and domestic animals and will impact on the domestic honey bee industry – What will limit its northward and southward distribution? .


reduced by 85%. zoo.reduced by 70% – Stronger competitor than native mollusks species .Accidental Transplants • The Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) – Transplanted from Asia (Caspian Sea) to US and became a pest • reproduces very rapidly – densities of 750.000 m2 and clog domestic water intake pipes and electrical power plants – Since 1988 it has spread rapidly throughout US – Zebra mussels alter the native communities – they feed on phytoplankton and this reduces zooplankton – water becomes much clearer and allows more sunlight – increases growth of aquatic plants – In some places photo.


In-text figure Page 577 Kudzu Vine (from Japan) .

1918 Expansion of the fire ant in southern states (From Argentina) 2000 .

Figure 22-17 (2) Page 576 Sea lamprey (attached to lake trout) Argentina fire ant Brown tree snake Eurasian muffle Common pigeon (Rock dove) Formosan termite Zebra mussel Asian long-horned beetle Asian tiger mosquito Gypsy moth larvae .

Figure 22-17 (1) Page 576 Purple looselife European starling African honeybee (“Killer bee”) Nutria Salt cedar (Tamarisk) Marine toad Water hyacinth Japanese beetle Hydrilla European wild boar (Feral pig) .

Tens Rule – generally 1 out of 10 introduced species gets established and 1 out of 10 established species becomes a pest! .

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