LECTURE                      ECOLOGY and the ENVIRONMENT

In this lecture you will:
 
 
 
 
ECOLOGY – THE "STAGE" ON WHICH EVOLUTION IS PLAYED OUT
AN ECOSYSTEM IS BOTH THE LIVING THINGS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
LIVING THINGS

POPULATION is a group of individuals of the same species that live and interact with each other.

– examples: deer, rabbits, badgers, pine, oak, maples

COMMUNITY is all the populations of different species that live in the same area and interact with each other.

- example: deer,  the plants they eat, and the wolves that eat them, and the bacteria and fungi that break down the detritus

" thirty-three distinct types of natural communities in Wisconsin—their characteristic trees, beetles, fish, lichens, butterflies, reptiles, mammals, wildflowers—and the effects of geology, climate, and historical events on these habitats. Part 2 describes and maps fifty natural areas on public lands that are outstanding examples of these many different natural communities: Crex Meadows, Horicon Marsh, Black River Forest, Maribel Caves, Whitefish Dunes, the Blue Hills, Avoca Prairie, the Moquah Barrens and Chequamegon Bay, the Ridges Sanctuary, Cadiz Springs, Devil's Lake, and many others."
http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/3133.htm

ENVIRONMENT

PHYSICAL SURROUNDINGS
Wisconsin has a lot of variation in the land sculptured by glaciers, deposits of fertile soil in valleys and by streams and rivers AND by lakes, big and small

CLIMATE
Wisconsin is a temperate deciduous forest biome, strong seasonal variation in climate, variation in length of day/night, variation in rain and snow,

http://www.wisconline.com/almanac/gardening/hardiness.html
What is an ecosystem?   Give some examples.
what is a population? Give some examples.
what is a species? Give some examples.
what is a community? Give some examples.
What is an environment?  Give some examples.
NICHE
- how an organism makes a living. 
"the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other; e.g. a dolphin could potentially be in another ecological niche from one that travels in a different pod if the members of these pods utilize significantly different food resources and foraging methods.[1] A shorthand definition of niche is how an organism makes a living." cite: wiki
see the warblers in the pine tree below
HABITAT
- the address of the organism, where they live
"is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism"
cite: wiki

                                  NO TWO SPECIES CAN occupy the same niche and habitat

What happens when two species DO have the same niche and habitat

1. direct, head on competition (war to the end) ends in extinction for one. 
     1b eat your competition (especially the young)

2. partition resources (you get europe, I get the western hemisphere) (warblers in a tree)

3. symbiosis of some sort, provide something of value (lichens), cellulose breaking down bacteria in cows

WARBLERS DIVIDE UP A PINE TREE SO THEY DONT HAVE DIRECT HEAD ON COMPETITION

 

What is a habitat? 
What is a niche? examples?
What 3 things may happen when two species try to occupy the same niche and habitat? Examples?

 
BIOME OR ECOSYSTEMS
"A biome is a climatically and geographically defined area of ecologically similar communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, often referred to as ecosystems. Biomes are defined based on factors such as plant structures (such as trees, shrubs, and grasses), leaf types (such as broadleaf and needleleaf), plant spacing (forest, woodland, savanna), and climate. Unlike ecozones, biomes are not defined by genetic, taxonomic, or historical similarities. Biomes are often identified with particular patterns of ecological succession and climax vegetation.

The biodiversity characteristic of each biome, especially the diversity of fauna and subdominant plant forms, is a function of abiotic factors and the biomass productivity of the dominant vegetation. Species diversity tends to be higher in terrestrial biomes with higher net primary productivity, moisture availability, and temperature. CITATION"

HOW DO BIOMES/ECOSYSTEMS DIFFER?
1. PRODUCTIVITY

productivity or the rate of accumulation of biomass
– the more green that grows, the more the 
eaters of green stuff there can be, the more 
biomass
– tropical rain forests (and coral reefs) have 
the most biomass
-  desert, tundra (frozen wasteland) and open 
ocean has the least
– only a small percentage (1-2%) of absorbed 
sun energy gets FIXED into carbohydrates 

Estimated Net Productivity of Certain Ecosystems (in kilocalories/m2/year)
Temperate deciduous forest 5,000
Tropical rain forest 15,000
Tall-grass prairie 2,000
Desert 500
Coastal marsh 12,000
Ocean close to shore 2,500
Open ocean 800
Clear (oligotrophic) lake 800
Lake in advanced state of eutrophication 2,400
Silver Springs, Florida 8,800
Field of alfalfa (lucerne) 15,000
Corn (maize) field, U.S. 4,500
Rice paddies, Japan 5,500
Lawn, Washington, D.C. 6,800
Sugar cane, Hawaii 25,000
2. ABUNDANCE/DIVERSITY

abundance is the total numbers of organisms
diversity is the number of different kinds of species

— abundance and diversity are usually inversely related. 

Example: Agriculture is typically low diversity, high abundance.  In the tropics there is high diversity and not many of each species.

– in general, a highly diverse ecosystem is more stable as there is more complex relationships and a food web rather than food chain.  It is also more resilient in that a crash in one species doesnt destabilize those that depend on them.

— most agriculture choses ABUNDANCE over DIVERSITY which leads to the "triple whammy" of instability and crash
 

RIGHT CLICK ON IMAGE AND CLICK ON "VIEW IMAGE" TO SEE IMAGE IN ORIGINAL SIZE 

(find a better picture that shows animal and plant diversity for extra credit points)

What is meant by the "productivity" of an ecosystem? 
Which ecosystems are the most productive? 
How well do the primary producers convert the sun into food?
Discuss the difference between abundance and diversity.
How does diversity affect  the stability of the ecosystem and its ability to resist and adapt to changes in the environment.  Use an example of an ecosystem with low diversity and unstable populations.

FOOD WEB CLICK HERE
REVIEW QUESTIONS