Introduction to Ecology

Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other and their environment. There are six main types of Ecology: Global Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Community Ecology, Population ecology and Organismal Ecology.
Global Ecology is the examination of how the regional exchange of energy and material influences the functioning and distribution of organisms across the biosphere (global ecosystem-the sum of all the planet's ecosystems and landscapes)
Landscape Ecology (or seascape ecology) focuses on the factors controlling exchanges of energy, materials, and organisms across many organisms.
Ecosystem Ecology is is they emphasis of the flow of energy and chemical cycling between organisms and their environment (A Ecosystem is the community of organisms in a specific area and the physical factors with which these organisms interact with each other)
Community Ecology is examination of how interactions between species(e.g. predation and competition) affects the structure and the organization of the community.(A Community is a group of populations of different species in the same area.)
Population Ecology is the examination of factors that affect the size of the population and how and why the size changes through time. (A Population is a group of individuals of the same species living in the same area.)
Organismal Ecology includes the sub disciplines of physiological, evolutionary and behavioral ecology. Organismal Ecology is concerned with how an organism's structure, physiology, and behavior meet the challenges posed by its environments.

Climate is long-term weather conditions at a given place. Climate has a highly significant effect on the distribution of organisms in the ocean and on land.
There are four physical factors that affect climate: precipitation, wind, sunlight and temperature.
Climate is often describes in two scales: Microclimate and Macroclimate
Macroclimate is the large scale pattern in climate, such as the climate of an entire region
Microclimate is referring to the climate patterns of a very small scale, for example, the climatic conditions underneath a log.

Macroclimate


Earth's Macroclimate is affected by many things, such as the input of solar energy and the movement of the earth in space. The sun helps with warming up the earth, and things on it such as the atmosphere, water, and land. The warming helps establish variation in temperature, cycles of air, movement of water, and water evaporation that causes huge differences in latitudinal climate. the following is a picture that describes this cycle and how the climate patterns are formed:
bio pic 1.PNG
Climate Patterns can be modified by many factors, such as seasonal variation in climate, mountain ranges, and large bodies of water.

Seasonality
Earth's tilted axis of rotation and its annual passage around the sun causes a strong seasonal cycle in middle and high latitudes. In addition to these changes in temperature, day length and solar radiation, the angle of the sun changes the effects on local environments. The following picture goes into more detail about Earth's tilted axis and seasonality:
bio pic 2.PNG




Bodies of Water
bio pic 3.PNG

Mountains

bio pic 4.PNG

Microclimate

There are two types of factors that affect Microclimate: abiotic and biotic

Biotic factors are factors that are living, such as organisms that will affect the microclimate.

Abiotic factors are factors that are not living organisms, such as light, temperature, nutrients and water.


Biomes


A biome is any of the world's major ecosystem types, often classified according to the predominant vegetation for terrestrial biomes and the physical environment for aquatic biomes and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment.

Terrestrial Biomes are biomes that re on land, and aquatic biomes are biomes that are underwater.

Climograph: A plot of the mean temperature and precipitation in a certain region.

bio pic 5.PNG


bio pic 6.PNG

Tropical Forest

Distribution: Equatorial and subequatorial regions
Precipitation: In tropical rainforests, rainfall is relatively constant, about 200-400 cm per year. In tropical Dry forests, precipitation is highly seasonal, about 150-200 cm per year, with a 6-7 month long dry season.
Temperature: High year-round, averaging 25-29 degrees Celsius (79-84 degrees Fahrenheit) with little seasonal variation.
Animals: Earth's Tropical forests are home to millions of species, including 5-30 million species of undescribed insects, spiders, and other anthropods. In fact, animal diversity is higher in tropical forests than in any other terrestrial biome. The animals, including birds, amphibians, and other mammals anthropods and other reptiles, are adapted to the vertically layered environment and are often inconspicuous.Plants: Tropical forests are vertically layered, and competition for light can get very intense. Layers in rain forests include emergent trees that grow above a closed canopy, the canopy trees, one or two layers of subcanopy trees, and layers of shrubs and herbs (small, nonwoody plants). There are generally fewer layers in tropical dry forests. Broadleaf evergreen trees are dominant in tropical rain forests, whereas many tropical dry forest trees drop their leaves during the dry season. Epiphytes such as bromeliads and orchids generally cover tropical forest trees but are less abundant in dry forests. thorny shrubs and succulent common in some tropical dry forests.
Human Impact: Humans long ago established thriving communities in tropical forests.Rapid population growth leading to agriculture and development is now destroying many tropical forests.





bio pic 7.PNGchaparral.PNGbio pic 8.PNG






















bio pic 9.PNGbio pic 10.PNG
bio pic 11.PNGbio pic 12.PNG

Photic Zone: The narrow top part of an ocean or lake, where light can penetrate sufficiently enough for photosynthesis
Aphotic Zone: The region below the Photic zone, where light does not penetrate.
Pelagic Zone: The Open water component of aquatic biomes
Abyssal Zone: The part of the ocean's benthic zone between 2000 and 6000 meters deep.
Benthic zone: The bottom surface of an aquatic environment

bio pic 13.PNG
bio pic 14.PNG

Aquatic Biomes:

bio pic 15.PNG
bio pic 16.PNG

bio pic 17.PNG
bio pic 18.PNG
bio pic 19.PNG
bio pic 20.PNG
bio pic 21.PNG
bio pic 22.PNG
bio pic 23.PNG

The following diagram is the basic outline of what ecologists use to find out why species occur where they do occur:
bio pic 24.PNG
Click here to return to the Ecology home page