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Ecosystem Ecology Study Guide

by: Danielle Thomas

Ecosystem Ecology Study Guide BIOSC 0160

Marketplace > University of Pittsburgh > Biology > BIOSC 0160 > Ecosystem Ecology Study Guide
Danielle Thomas
GPA 3.6

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About this Document

Detailed material covered in the last week of class before the final
Foundations of Biology 2
Dr. Hale
Study Guide
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Danielle Thomas on Sunday April 24, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to BIOSC 0160 at University of Pittsburgh taught by Dr. Hale in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Foundations of Biology 2 in Biology at University of Pittsburgh.


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Date Created: 04/24/16
Ecosystem Ecology/Biodiversity Study Guide 04/17/2016 ▯ CHAPTER 56 ▯ ▯ Ecosystem: species present in a region and all abiotic components ▯ Primary producer – autotroph: organism that synthesizes its own food from inorganic sources  Solar energy  photosynthesis  Gross primary productivity (GPP): total amount of chemical energy produced in an area o Primary producers use energy for cellular respiration or growth & reproduction  Net Primary Productivity (NPP): energy invested by primary producers to build new tissue or offspring  NPP = GPP – Respiration  Amount of energy available to other organisms  Total amount of chemical potential energy stored in organic material – biomass  Efficiency of biomass transfer from one trophic level to the next is 10% o Fitness trade offs o Where does the rest of the energy go?  Maintenance is energy lost as heat  Growth and reproduction are energy converted into mass  Excretion is energy that is passed without conversion  Most energy is given to cellular respiration  In forests, the NPP is consumed mostly once it has died – called a “brown” food web  Only use 0.8% of sunlight o Due to pigments only being able to absorb certain wavelengths, low photosynthesis in the winter, dry conditions in the summer o NPP = 45% o Cellular respiration = 55%  Total incoming solar energy  Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) 0.8% of solar energy  Net Primary Productivity (NPP) 45% of GPP  Cellular Respiration 55% of GPP ▯ Consumer: eat living organisms  Primary consumer – eat primary producers  Secondary consumer – eats primary consumer  Tertiary consumer – eats secondary consumer Decomposers – detritivores: obtain energy by feeding on the remains of other organisms or waste  Detritus: dead animals and plants ▯ Energy flows – nutrients cycle  Energy dissipates as it flows through ecosystems – arriving as sunlight and exiting as heat  Nutrients cycle through ecosystems – constantly flowing among organisms & the abiotic environment ▯ Trophic level: organisms that obtain energy from the same source ▯ Shows energy flow  Food chain: simple  Food web: complex, shows some organisms feed on many things Top down control: when a consumer limits a prey population  Consumer is keystone species  Trophic cascade: changes in top down control cause effects two or three links away in a food web ▯ Land is more productive than ocean ▯ Biogeochemical cycle: path that an element takes through abiotic systems and organisms ▯ Imports of nutrients  Ions released as rocks weather  Nutrients blow in or dissolve in streams  Bacteria fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into usable nitrogen ▯ Global carbon cycle: movement of carbon among terrestrial ecosystems, the ocean & atmosphere  Water reservoir is the largest  Atmosphere reservoir moves carbon the fastest  Carbon is taken out of the atmosphere by photosynthesis and put back in through cellular respiration  Burning fossil fuels releases carbon into the atmosphere o CO2 levels are the highest they’ve been in the past 800,000yrs o High CO2 levels change the climate ▯ Global climate change  Global warming: increase in average temperature of the planet  Global climate change: sum of all changes in local temp and precipitation patterns that result from global warming o Frequency and intensity of storms, droughts, etc  Climate change is normal but the rate of change is alarming today ▯ Greenhouse effect  Greenhouse gas: traps heat and prevents it from being lost to space o CO2 is a greenhouse gas  Sun’s energy can be reflected or absorbed & re-emitted as heat energy (infrared radiation) ▯ Climate Change consequences to organisms  Phenology shifts – mismatch of timing in species interactions  Geographical range shift – suitable habitats are moving towards the poles  Evolutionary adaptation – allele frequencies change to adapt to climate  Extinction ▯ Climate Change consequences on ecosystems  Decrease in NPP – although there is more CO2, there are more droughts so many plants decreased photosynthesis ▯ ▯ CHAPTER 57 ▯ ▯ Biodiversity – biological diversity  Genetic diversity: total genetic info within all individuals of a population, species or group of species o Measured as number & relative frequency of all genes and alleles o The adaptive capacity of a population  Species diversity: weighted measure of species richness that incorporates the species’ relative abundance o Species richness: count of how many species are in a community o Community could have a few individuals = high species richness but low species diversity o Taxonomic diversity: lineages with many species  If a species has low taxonomic diversity it is important to maintain that species or entire lineage is extinct  pandas  Ecosystem diversity: complex factors and interactions with abiotic environment o Measured by number of species in each trophic level and the number of trophic levels and number of ecosystems and habitats in an area o Ecosystem function: biological and chemical processes in an ecosystem  Mutations – increase genetic diversity  Natural selection/genetic drift/gene flow – can increase or decrease genetic diversity  Speciation – increase species diversity  Extinction – decrease species diversity Endemic species: species found in a particular area and no where else Biodiversity hotspot: regions that are in urgent need of conservation action  Represent 2.3% of Earth’s land but contain over 50% of all known plant species and 42% of terrestrial vertebrates are endemic ▯ 5 Threats to biodiversity  Extinction  International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – quantify the risk of extinction for a species  Endangered species: species whose numbers have decreased so drastically that they will go extinct if conservation efforts are not made  1. Habitat destruction – habitat loss o Largest factor for terrestrial species o Deforestation o Habitat degradation: reduction in quality of a habitat  Habitat fragmentation: taking a large habitat and cutting it into small fragmented habitats  Can make habitats too small to support some species  Problem for predators – can cause trophic cascades  Catastrophic events eliminate small populations more easily than large ones  Small populations have more inbreeding depression and random loss of alleles due to genetic drift  Habitat fragmentation/degradation decreases the quality and quantity of habitats  decreases genetic diversity  2. Overexploitation: removal of wildlife from the natural environment for human use o Largest factor for marine species  3. Invasive species o Largest factor for species on islands  4. Pollution o Largest factor for freshwater species  5. Climate change Population viability analysis (PVA): estimates the likelihood that a population will avoid extinction for a given period Biological benefits of biodiversity  Biodiversity increases productivity o Species richness has a positive impact on NPP o Due to niche differentiation and more efficient resource use  More species means more niches are filled and more resources are consumed o Increases amount of biomass in a system ▯ Stability of a community  Ability to – recover to former levels of productivity and species richness after a disturbance and maintain productivity and other aspects of ecosystem function as conditions change over time  Resistance: how much a community is affected by a disturbance  Resilience: how quickly a community recovers after a disturbance  More species richness increases resistance and resilience ▯ Communities that are more diverse appear to be more productive, more resistant to disturbance and invasion and more resilient, increasing species richness increases services provided by ecosystems ▯ Ecosystem services: all direct and indirect benefits humans’ get from organisms and the ecosystems they’re in  Provisioning services: provide raw materials o Food, fuel, fiber, medicine  Regulating services: Earth’s life support system o Climate moderation, soil formation, waste decomposition  Cultural services: enrich quality of life o Aesthetics, recreation, education  Supporting services: enable all other ecosystem services o Primary productivity, pollination, nutrient cycles ▯ Sustainability: managed use of resources at a rate only as fast as the rate at which they are replaced ▯ Conservation of genetic diversity, populations & species  Management for invasive species – global prevention plans are better than treatment  Seed banks  Ex situ conservation: preservation of species off site of their natural habitat  last resort, insurance policy to recover extinct species o Zoos, aquariums  In situ conservation: establishment of protective areas where populations can be maintained in their natural habitat o Nature reserves, national parks  Genetic restoration: after habitat fragmentation, can reintroduce individuals to increase artificial gene flow  Wildlife corridors: undeveloped habitat, connect preserved areas o Allow gene flow to recolonize  Protected areas: protect large areas of land and sea from overexploitation Conservation of ecosystem function  Ecosystem restoration – positively correlated with the size of area restored, its connectedness and intactness  Quantifying ecosystem services – make explicit in the marketplace that long term human prosperity depends on the preservation of species o Ecotourism: recreational visits to wild places ▯ Criteria for making conservation decisions  1. Flagship species  2. Umbrella species – high demand for land area  3. Keystone species – can make trophic cascade  4. Ecosystem services  5. Biodiversity/species richness  6. Uniqueness/endemism  7. Extinction risk  8. Likelihood of short term success  9. Likelihood of long term success  10. Cost  11. Cultural/aesthetic value ▯ ▯


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