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Intro to Environmental Science: Ecology Unit

by: Melissa Zeffero

Intro to Environmental Science: Ecology Unit EL 100

Marketplace > Aquinas College > EL 100 > Intro to Environmental Science Ecology Unit
Melissa Zeffero


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About this Document

Important facts and vocabulary featured in our ecology unit
Intro to Environmental Science
Matthew W. Tueth
Science, environmental, notes, Ecology
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This 4 page Bundle was uploaded by Melissa Zeffero on Wednesday February 3, 2016. The Bundle belongs to EL 100 at Aquinas College taught by Matthew W. Tueth in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views.


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Date Created: 02/03/16
NTRO  TO  ENVIRONMENTAL  SCIENCE : ECOLOGY  U NIT  Woods have just as much or more industry than an urban area with factories  Provides more services and produces more for more organisms  Natural World Themes  1. All materials cycle and waste becomes food  Used materials are ready for something else 2. Diversity is rewarded  Seen as an advantage  More diversity = more durable, higher life quality, more organisms 3. Each species depends on many others  Example: oxygen comes from plants making food, we need oxygen to breathe and live 4. The sun is the ONLY energy source  Energy gives us the ability to do work  Work involves different forms of change  EXCEPTIONS: Some organisms never see sunlight and live on gad in caves or bottom ocean thermal vents  Human World Themes 1. Materials are routinely buried or burned  Usually after 1­2 generations (Example: landfills) 2. Wastes are often toxic 3. Diversity is sometimes tolerated 4. We ignore interdependencies   We feel we have no responsibility to add value back into the environment 5. Many harmful energy strategies  Consequences for us and other organisms  Ecosystem: all biotic and abiotic factors in a community, where they get their needs met by interdependency  A sustainable, interacting community  Example: pond, forest, cubic m of soil  SOIL IS THE MOST DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM IN NATURE  Ecology: study of ecosystems and how the natural communities work  Biosphere: place on Earth where life is found; sum of all Earth’s interdependent ecosystems  Biota: every form of life on the planet  Biomes: major terrestrial ecosystem types that are land­based  Different Types of Land Biomes 1.  Desert:   10 inches or less of rainfall   Very dry  Plants live without water  Most animals are nocturnal  2.  Tall Grass Prairie:   No woody plants  Rich soil  Many different animals  Been diminishing due to human activities 3.  Woods:   Need more water than prairie plants   Lots of woody plants 4.  Tundra:   No trees (due to the harsh environment)  Very dry and windy   Soil is very thin and not fertile   Freezing in cold months   Thaws only a few feet in warm months   Soggy areas when it gets warm   Many animals (wolves, caribou, insects, birds)  Not much snow 5.  Tropical Rainforest:   Dominated by trees, tropical latitude   Rains about 90+ inches a year   Almost no change in seasons (does rain a bit more in the winter)  Same weather year round  High humidity (average 90­100%)  Soil is practically nutrient free (very poor for growing)  People who live here get food from subsidence farming (growing the food you eat)  Many unidentified species, very diverse 6.  Amazon Rainforest Basin:  Basin drains river systems  Largest   continuous     chunk   of   rainforest   in   existence,   but   is shrinking in size  Humans are cutting down trees for farming and cattle raising  Loses a Michigan­sized area every 2 years Different Types of Aquatic Biomes 1.  Saltwater Marsh:   Non­woody vegetation  Has tides (rise/fall every 12 hours based on gravity pull of the moos and sun) 2.  Estuary:   Mixture of fresh & salt water,   Aquatic plants (rooted and floating)  Aquatic animals like birds, muskrats, and amphibians 3.  Swamp:  Woody plants like trees and bushes  Aquatic organisms like fish, algae, birds, and insects  Inland swamps are not on the coastline  Mangrove swamps have a specific type of tree in swamps along the coastline (small to prevent hurricane damage) Ecosystem Structure and Influence  Habitat: the type of place where a species gets its needs met and performs its occupation  Niche: how an organism gets its needs met, its habitat type, and its climate  Carrying Capacity: maximum number of individuals of a species that an ecosystem can continuously support  Limiting Factor: determines the number of species and its range  Example: Number of squirrels in a woods can depend on the season, amount of acorns, and available homes Life Adapting to  Change  Gradual abiotic changes over the last 3.5 billion years include…  Composition  of the atmosphere  (Oxygen  at 21% and Carbon Dioxide)  Global climate (patterns) Changed dozens of times in the past billion years Colder/drier to warmer/wetter and back again; warmer air has more energy and more potential for precipitation Tens of thousands of years to cycle  66 million years ago: warm/wet climate and reptiles were dominate  2 Sudden and Simultaneous changes occurred: Asteroid hits Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, creates 130 mile wide impact crater  Multiple volcanic eruptions Huge amounts of dust and ash into the atmosphere to the point where noon looked like sunset, 2/3 of the light was gone 5 years of darkness Much cooler temperatures within a month Toxic gas present in the atmosphere Caused the dinosaur extinction  Mammals begin to flourish A sudden change in the availability of a vital necessity causes a species to have 3 alternative options: 1.  Migration to find a new place to live 2.  Adaptations  Genetic changes include: Rapid rate of reproduction with bacteria and insects More genetic changes = more benefits = high survival Slower rate of reproduction with mammals Less variation = less benefits = lower survival  Behavioral changes include: Farming became a major change for humans Example: beavers build dams or lodges on a stream, which insulates and provides food Example: Humans creating clothing and industrializing 3. Extinction  No changes/adaptations will cause species to die out  Only   species   that   manage   to   adapt   to   new   negative   living conditions will survive  Natural Selection: continual process of species survival or extinction  Adaptations within existing species  Adaptations produce entirely new species more fit for the circumstances  Includes extinctions (see #3 above)  Evolution: 3.5 billion years of continual adaptation to changing solutions by biota


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