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Ecology- Week One

by: Jayda Abrams

Ecology- Week One Bio317

Jayda Abrams
Virginia Commonwealth University
GPA 3.52
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These notes cover material taught during the first week of ecology with Dr. Bissett. It covers content from chapters 1 and 2 like different types of ecolgy, biomes, soil, climate and much more! Mat...
Dr. Bissett
Class Notes
Ecology, Biology, Biology: Ecology and Evolution, plants, climate, Soil Science, Soil Biology




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jayda Abrams on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Bio317 at Virginia Commonwealth University taught by Dr. Bissett in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Ecology in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University.


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Date Created: 09/02/16
Ecology- Week One 8/29/2016 8/31/2016 9/2/16 Chapter 1 Ecology is a true science based in biology, natural history and environmental science. Ecology is a diverse science has scale as a major theme! Environmental Science is a true science that is a sub discipline (but not the only sub discipline) of ecology. It studies man’s impact on nature. Other sub disciplines of ecology include:  Physiological Ecology- Studies a species response to the environment. Asks why questions like why does a plant have stems at one end and not the other? Asks why questions to find out why things are the way they are, and what impact they have.  Population Ecology- Studies phylogenetics using phylogeny trees. Finds answers to questions involving how long a species has been a species, the rate of evolution and completion in an environment.  Community Ecology-Studies species diversity, completion and succession. Answers questions like what plants (or animals) came first and how?  Biogeochemical Ecology- Studies subjects surrounding nutrient cycling decomposition and primary productivity. Raises questions like how does a plant start in soil, become a plant and end up in an animal? Examples of this field include studying global warming and food webs.  System Ecology- Computer bases dealing with math and modeling.  Industrial Ecology- Looks at chemistry, physics and engineering in the things we use and make.  Others include: Urban Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Global Ecology, and Agroecology; however these are up and coming fields. Life Cycle Assessment- Systematically reduces any manufactured item into its component and their subsidiary industrial processes, and measures the impact it has on nature and its growth. It is measured by the:  Raw materials –energy and water displaced  Toxicity  Production of hazardous waste  Photochemical ozone impact Biology, Geography and Natural History play major roles contributing into ecology! The ESA’s (Ecological Study of America) formal definition of ecology is “Ecology is the scientific discipline that is concerned with the relationships between organisms and their past, present, and future environments. These relationships include physiological responses of individuals, structure and dynamics of populations, interactions among species, organization of biological communities, and processing of energy and matter in ecosystems.” The purpose of this organization is to clarify and communicate the purpose of ecology and how it can be applied to give answers and knowledge to public issues! Ecology is the study of relationships between organisms (biotic) and their environment (abiotic). Hierarchy Levels:  Ecosystem- A community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit.  Landscape- Energy and nutrient flow, as well as movement and exchange of organisms across ecosystems.  Biosphere- Part of the Earth and atmosphere that can support life. LTDR- 100+ years of long term ecological data like temperature, rainfall, and CO2 concentration (used for the biosphere scale). Overview: Ecology studies relationship of organisms and the environment! Ecosystems contain all living organisms in that physical environment and how they interact! How do we design studies?: With the scientific method. Start with observations from things observed, literature and modeling. Create a question/ hypothesis and make a prediction (a hypothesis cannot be proven or accepted and the goal of the experiment should be to disprove something. Hypothesis uses null and reject/fail to reject). Test the hypothesis, observe the results and redesign the hypothesis if needed in light of new information. Replicate the experiment! Ex: MacArthur studying the ecology of 5 species of warblers in the spruce forest in North America. Nichie Theory stated that 2 species with identical ecological requirements would not be able to coexist. However studies found species had no problems with coexisting and used different parts of the trees for feeding. Ecological Requirements for a Habitat: Stable isotope analysis: Different proportions of isotopes vary across the environment and this is reflected in the body tissue of different organisms. This can give an idea of where organisms feed and how they use their habitat. Differences exists in isotope analysis because there is a direct correlation between specific isotopes and the nutrition they provide. In plants the CO2 supply, rate and method of intake (of carbon) can vary depending on the isotopes present. Forest Canopy Research- Due to heavy rainfall, the soil in rainforests are nutrition poor because: 1. Rain washes it away 2. The nutrients present are immediately taken in by plants and stored in the rainforest canopies associated with epiphytes. Epiphyte mats contain significant quantities of nutrients. Tree roots need access to epiphyte mats for nutrients. A Study of Scales: Always think about space and time; when and where something is happening and how long it takes! The study of pollen is palynology. Chapter Two: Global Climatic Process? What drives climate?: The Sun. What causes seasonality? : Global energy balance. The amount of energy in has to equal the amount of energy out!  30% of the sun’s light is reflected  70% is absorbed in the biosphere and most is absorbed as heat  Amount used for photosynthesis is insignificant  Heat must be dissipated to balance the energy input Energy input can be absorbed by oceans and deserts or can be converted to kinetic energy in the form of wind. It can also re-radiate at night and evaporate water. Eventually it all leaves in the form of long wave radiations. Heat being converted can drive air currents and atmospheric circulation. Atmospheric circulation- Coriolis Effect: Makes trade winds by breaking up air circulation. Ocean currents- Due to the spin of the Earth and the air currents ocean currents are being formed by:  Radiation  Air currents  Position of the continents ***Know About Whittaker Graphs!*** Soils: They are the foundation of terrestrial ecosystems! Climate, soil and precipitation all make up a biome! All soils are made up of living and nonliving parts and all terrestrial life depends on it. Soil functions include:  Area for plant growth  A recycling system  Way for water to be supplied to plants and purified  Engineering Medium- How things live on and under the soil  Habitat for organisms (like fungi and bacteria) All soils have: Pedogenesis is the development of soil. The E (eluviation) horizon is sometimes included and this is the zone where lots of organic matter flushes through! The B (Illuviation) horizon is the zone where things are being flushed from. Regional Climate: Example: Biomes! Regional climate influences and defines biomes. These influences come from:  The atmospheric circulation  Ocean currents  Topography- reflects the local climate  Vegetation- directly influenced by the topography, ocean currents and atmospheric circulation. Examples: 1. Costal deserts- Cold ocean currents 2. Amazon Basin- Tropical rainforest 3. Eastern vs Western Oregon Temperature and moisture and are very linked! Precipitation = Supply Humidity = Demand This linkage is driven by a deficit of vapor pressure. There is a close correlation between air temperature and the amount of water, and temperature and moisture cannot be separated. Elevation effects altitude and mimics latitude! Elevation causes precipitation shadows. Example: In mountain ranges with windward vs. leeward sides.


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