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Ecology, Week 1

by: Rheanna Gimple

Ecology, Week 1 LIFE 320

Rheanna Gimple
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About this Document

Basics of Ecology and Physical Environments
Dale R Lockwood
Class Notes
Ecology, Biology




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rheanna Gimple on Monday September 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LIFE 320 at Colorado State University taught by Dale R Lockwood in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Ecology in Biology at Colorado State University.


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Date Created: 09/19/16
Ecology  Divided in to hierarchy of subdivisions  From Greek for study of and house  Organism in their environment o Adaptations to pressure in their environment o Environment can be biological or physical  Populations o Changes in number of individuals in population o Behavior of individuals in group o Evolution shapes populations over time  Community Eco o Interactions among populations  Simplest form is two population interactions  Can be Beneficial, harmful or neutral  Competition, predation and mutualism  Species interact with many other populations  Forms of food webs  Ecosystems: energy and element cycles o Community of organisms with biotic and abiotic interactions o Ecosystem behavior gives the context for individual organisms  Human dimensions o Climate & environmental change - human driven o Species and habitat loss  Ex: deforestation, over fishing o Ecological benefits to humans  We benefit from ecology  Need natural resources to survive o Sustainability of managed systems  Ecology o Basically about change and how it often happens in networks  I.e. Food webs o About our world The Physical Environment: Adaptations for water and nutrients  Physical Environment o Gives boundaries and opportunities for organisms in area o Life must be able to survive in their environment or die o Adaptations are driven by changes in environment  Aspects of physical environment o Nature of water  Water needed for all life as we know it o Nutrients (food)  Water: o Makes up 50-95% of an organism’s mass o Biochemistry happens in water  Cellular level functions o Organisms must replenish water loss o Chemical properties of water  Dipole makes water bind together (surface tension)  Ionizes to make effect  Dissolves polar substances  Neutral pH (7)  Critical to life o Water is a habitat  Physical properties  High heat capacity  Temperatures tend to be consistent  Helps homeostasis  Extends to coastal regions  Beach areas tend to have more stable temperatures year round  Ice floats If sank temperate lakes would not support life   It would freeze solid and fish would die  More viscous than air  Requires streamlined body shapes  Commonly liquid at earth's temperatures o Things dissolve in it  Key ions:  + Na, K, Ca, Mg  (-)Cl, SO4, HCO3 (bicarbonate)  Nutrients: N (NO3-, NH4+), P (PO42-) o Water sticks to soil particles  Smaller soil grains = more surface area  Potential: strength of forces holding water to soil particles  Rocky soils drain better and don’t hold water much  Water potential is abbreviated as and measured in unites of megapascals (Mpa)  More negative values attract water  Field capacity: amount of water held by matric potential against gravity  Wilting point: Minimum amount of water in soil needed so plants don’t wilt o o Osmotic potential: force of solution to attract water  Osmosis: movement of water from regions of high to low concentration across a semipermeable membrane  In osmotic membranes water moves to equalize solute pressures on either side  osmotic potential of solution proportional to number of dissolved molecules  Osmotic potential is also called solute potential  1 molar solution = -21 atm osmotic potential o Water moves by  Soil matric potential  Osmotic forces  Transpiration o Transpiration and water uptake  Water potential of dry air:  -133 Mpa @ 20C  Vascular plants move water long internal distances  Tension-cohesion theory  Force required to move water within xylem elements is generated when water moves from the vascular vessels to leaf cells replacing transpiration losses  Transpirational pull is facilitated by cohesion of water molecules to each other and cohesion of water molecules to cell walls  Literally pulled from roots to leaves o Adaptations to arid environments  Stomate modifications  Open and close in response to plant water potential  Internal structures slow air movement  Leaf modifications  Increased surface area for heat dissipation  Pubescence (leaf hairs) thicken moisture boundary layer  Formation of waxy cuticle to reduce water loss  Ions o Nutrients more dilute in environment than in plant o Active transport across root membrane o Symbiosis with fungi  Hyphae pulls nutrients in plant o Often limited by root surface area, so alter root: shoot ratio  Salt o Osmoregulation is crucial for survival o Plants, protists, invertebrates and vertebrates all have different adaptations for dealing with salt at different levels  Cellular level  Structural level  Organ level o Vertebrates deal with salt  Osmotic pressure varies among environments:  Ocean = -2.5 Mpa  Fresh water = 0 Mpa  Most vertebrates around -.3 to -.5 o Hyperosmotic: tend to gain water and/ or lose solutes to environment  Marine fish gain salt  Loss of water across gills  Many fish drink water to make up for losses  Kidneys work hard to excrete salt, gills too o Hypo-osmotic: tend to lose water and/ or gain solutes  Freshwater fish lose ions  Loss of ions through gills to fresh water  These fish urinate the extra water they gain  Kidneys selectively retain ions  Gills tot can selectively gain ions o Terrestrial organisms and salt  Transpiration loss of water leads to salt accumulation in all leaves  Terrestrial animals lose salt in urine, gain from food  Desert animals develop super-kidneys: urine up to 25x salty as blood  Marine birds have salt glands (formerly tear-ducts) to eliminate brine o Water (and air) and movement  Organisms have adaptations to deal with movement in fluid environments  Physics is key to understanding dynamics  Reynolds number (Re) is dimensionless rationale of inertial forces vs. viscous forces  Larger number means the organism doesn't really feel fluid they are moving through and can move quickly through it o Flying through air or fighting molasses  A small Re implies viscous force dominates  Ex: Planktonic larvae are pushed around by water  Large Re implies inertial forces dominate  Ex: Dolphins can speed through water


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