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ECOLOGY Ecology is the study of interactions between living organisms and their nonliving environment.

It deals with populations, communities and ecosystems.Followings are the important ecological concepts. Biosphere is the sum of all places in which organisms live in earth. It is about 20 km. in thickness, extending from ocean floor to the highest point in the atmosphere. Biomes are major divisions of biosphere consisting of many kinds of similar ecosystems. istribution of biomes is largely controlled by climate. !he major biomes of the world are divided according to the major plant communities maintaining by the climate.It includes" a)Terrestrial biomes# !ropical rainforests, savannas, deserts, tundra, temperate shrublands, temperate grasslands, etc. b)Aquatic biomes # Freshwater, lake, marine, pond, ocean, marshes, coral reefs. Habitat: In an ecosystem ,the organisms are not distributed uniformly.$ach organism lives in a particular place. !hat is called as its habitat. Niche:!he role of an organism that it plays in the ecosystem is its niche.

$cology can be studied at three levels# ! "opulatio##Population is any group of interbreeding individuals of one species, living at the same time in the same limited area. $! Commu#ity#%ll different populations living in a given area form a community. %! Ecosystem#Ecosystem consists of all populations and their physical environment in a given area. "O"&LAT'ON &opulations include only one type of species in a limited area. 'pecies is a group of similar organisms capable of mating with one another and produce reproductive offsprings. $xamples of populations are frogs in a pond, salmon fish in a stream, black oaks in (elgrad forest, etc. !he following examples couldn)t form a population# a fish in a stream, trees in a forest Characteristics o( a populatio#: ! "opulatio# )e#sity# It is the number of individuals at a given place in a definite time. In other words" the number of individuals per unit area or volume. For example" number of black pine trees per km2 area, number of amoeba per liter of pond water. For a sparsely represented populations of trees, snakes or other organisms, a simple *head count+ will do.

For dense populations, ecologists generally perform counts in small, randomly, selected sampling areas, then use the data to estimate overall density. For example, number of fish catched in a net. &opulation density largely depends on ecological relationships among species occupying the same area. 'o it serves as a baseline for tracking changes in density overtime. $! "opulatio# si*e: It is the number of individuals that make up the populations gene pool. &opulation si,e increases by births and by immigration -moving in.. &opulation si,e decreases by deaths and by emigration -moving out. /hange in population si,e0 -1 of (irth2 1 of immigration.3-1 of death21 of emigration. /hange in population si,e0%3(

%! Carryi#g capacity a#) gro+th cur,es: It is the maximum number of individuals of population that can be supported -sustained. indefinitely by a given environment. Biotic pote#tial# 4nder ideal conditions -plenty of food, living space,other resources and free of predators,pathogens etc..,a population would show maximum rate of increase per individual.!hat rate is its biotic potantial and it differs greatly among species. For example, 5aximum rate of increase is 6700 every 80 minutes for bacteria. 5aximum rate of increase is 6239 per year for human. !here are 2 types of growth curves# !E-po#e#tial Gro+th Cur,e ./0shape)):$xponential refers to a relationship in which one variable -1 of individuals. increases much faster than another variable -time.. $!Logistic Gro+th Cur,es .10shape)):% population at low density starts growing slowly in si,e,then grows rapidly and finally levels off in si,e once carrying capacity is reached.'uch curves are only an approximation of what goes on in nature % population that is not growing at its biotic potential may still grow exponentially.For example, each human female is biologically capable of bearing 20 or more children but many do not reproduce at all.$ven so, human population has been growing exponentially. How do human population continue to grow exponentially in spite of environmental resistance?

" opulatio# Co#trol 2actors !homas 5althus, in 7:;<, suggested that populations increase in a geometric manner" however food sources in nature increase in an arithmetical manner. It means

Increase of population si,e = Increase of food >hen a population increase remains unchecked -unregulated., population shows exponential growth -geometric increase..?owever, under most conditions, a population can not long continue to increase exponentially, because it reaches some environmental limits" such as food shortage, living space, oxygen, nesting or hiding places, accumulation of its own waste products. !here are two kinds of factors that prevent a population to increase exponentially# !E-ter#al 2actors: Food shortage, disease, predation, wars, migrations- immigration@ emigration.,living spaces, natural disasters etc. $!'#ter#al (actors: !hese are social behaviours which tend to limit population. $xamples" lowering the breeding rate, eating offsprings, pulling out its offsprings from the nest, and some other birth rate controlling factors such as pills etc. In nature,populations are mostly stable in si,e as population si,e is balanced around its carrying capacity. !he most common pattern for such population growth in a wild population is represented by logistic growth curve which has early rapid growth phase, then replaced by the stable situation, with births and deaths are approximately eAual.

E#,iro#me#tal resista#ce keeps the population si,e around its carrying capacity. E#,iro#me#tal resista#ce includes all the environmental effects. !he followings are some factors that cause the environmental resistance to increase. Increase in predators, diseases, immigrations, shortage in living spaces, food shortage, and increase in population density etc. >hen environmental resistance increases, the population si,e decreases. $xample situations of population problem# 1. Increase in the human population is not uniform. It varies from one country to another, and is not subject to any obvious or universal regulation, either internal or external. 2. % predator control program was started in the Baibab Cational Forest in %ri,ona in 7;0:.>olves" cougars and coyotes were hunted and killed. !hese predators had been attacking sheep and cattle and deers of the forest. (y 7;70,the deer herd, which had long remained balanced, started to increase rapidly. !he predator control program was considered a success. (ut during the long, cold winters of 7;2D and 7;29,E0000 deer starved to death and so the program became an example of game mismanagement. In this situation we see the operation of external forces in regulating population si,e. 3. In some bird populations, during periods of limited food, only some birds participate in breeding activity. ?ere we see the operation of internal forces. 4. % biologist of 4niversity of >isconsin, Fohn $mlen and his students , studied the populations of mice in some old buildings.

1T3&GGLE 2O3 1&34'4AL . CO5"ET'T'ON 2O3 1&34'4AL) %s a population grows, it struggles to survive. Intraspecific competition occurs among the members of same species. !he members of the population compete with one another for available food energy, water, light or nesting sites etc. /ompetition also takes place among those of different species. Interspecific competition is usually greatest among organisms that have similar reAuirements and life styles. Interspecific competition is usually less intense than intraspecific competition. (ecause two individuals of different species are less similar than two individuals of same species. !he pri#ciple o( competiti,e e-clusio# was formulated by Gussian biologist Hause. ?is principle states that if two species are in competition for the same limited source, one or the other will be more efficient at utili,ing or controlling access to this resource and will eventually eliminate the other in situations in which they occur together.

?is experiments involved laboratory cultures of two species of &aramecium, P.aurelia and P. caudatum. >hen two species were grown under identical conditions in separate containers both grew at its own rate and produced its own characteristic growth curve. P. aurelia multiplied much more rapidly than P.caudatum, indicating that the former used the available food supply more efficiently than the latter. -figure %. >hen two were grown together, P. aurelia rapidly out multiplied P.caudatum, which soon died out -figure (..

>hen the type of food supply was changed, all the results were reversed. !he P.caudatum won the competition. In this experiment, we see that the nature of food supply is the critical factor in population growth of paramecia. !he fastest growing species is not always the winner, however, as observed in two species of duckweed, Lemna gibba and Lemna polyrrhiza. In pure culture, L.gibba grows more slowly than L. polyrrhiza, yet L.gibba always replaces L.polyrrhiza when they are grown together. !he pant bodies of L.gibba have air filled sacs, so that these plant forms a mass over the other species, cutting off the light. !he shaded L. Polyrrhiza dies out.

>e seldom see competitive exclusion in action except for the introduced species -e.g. garden plants. !he followings are the examples. >alnut trees kill apple trees and roses. Flowers and vegetables are outcompeted by weeds unless they continually tended % catastrophe -flood, drought, fire, earthAuake, erosion, volcanic eruptions. may kill so many individuals that populations drops well below its carrying capacity.

%n extremely cold winter may kill so many warblers -a kind of bird. that the following spring, the few survivors find more caterpillars than they can eat. !he well3fed birds lay many eggs and the hatchlings survive well and show exponential growth. CA1E: 22 female and D male reindeer were introduced on one of the %laska)s island. In less than 80 years, the herd increased to 2000. Its members had to compete for dwindling vegetation and overgra,ing destroyed most of it. In 7;90 , the herd decreased to < members. !he growth pattern reflects how population si,e overshoots the carrying capacity then crashed.

AGE 1T3&CT&3E O2 "O"&LAT'ON1 Individuals tend to reproduce or leave a population at certain ages, which vary from one species to the next. In order to predict future growth of a population, it is important to know its age structure which is the percentage of the population at different ages. !he si,e of each part indicates the proportion of people in each category.

CO55&N'TY %ll different populations living and interacting in a given area form community. Hrasses3Hrasshoppers3Frogs3'nakes3?erons is an example of community Hrass3/ow3?uman is also an example of community. $arthworm3'parrow3/at is not an example of community.

Characteristics o( Commu#ities: ! 1pecies 6i,ersity# It consists of two factors# richness and evenness. a. 'pecies richness is number of species" forest with 20 tree species has more richness than a forest with 72. b. 'pecies evenness is the number of individuals within each population" a forest with :E yellow poplars and one %merican elm differs from a forest with D0 of both species. % habitat is where an organism lives and reproduces in the environment. It is the address of an organism. Niche is the role an organism plays in its community, including its habitat and its interactions with other organisms. It contains how, when, and where it gets food, its reproductive behavior. /onditions that define a niche are not static. /ommunity structure is shaped by habitat)s physical and chemical features, habitat)s resource availability over time, the adaptive traits of its various members, how those members interact and the history of habitat and all of its occupants. $! 6omi#a#t 1pecies o( a Commu#ity: 'ome species play crucial role in a community ,because of its density or role.'uch species are called dominant species. For example, in a forest the densest plant species may be a small shrub, but the large trees, not the shrubs are the dominant species, in the sense of determining the nature of a whole community. !he flood, fire, erosion, earthAuakes may upset the balance in the ecosystem. ominant species may change with time. /hange also occurs because organisms alter the environment. 'ome of the changes tend to make the environment more suitable for new types of organisms and less suitable for the existing organisms. !hus the original organisms in a community are gradually replaced by other types. !he replacement of one community by another in an ecosystem is called successio#. % pioneer species is notable for its high dispersal rate and rapid growth. $xamples are bacteria, fungi, lichens etc. 'uccession of one community by another continues until a mature ,stable community develops. 'uch community is called clima- commu#ity! /limax communities are usually named in terms of their dominant plant forms. For example" pine forest. >hen succession occurs in an area that has no existing life, for example on a bare rock, it is called primary succession. 'uccession that occurs in an area which an existing community has been partially destroyed and its balance upset is called secondary succession. Stages of primary succession

%! Number o( '#)i,i)uals ,s Bo)y 1i*e: !he number of organisms in a community varies inversely with their body si,e. (ecause a. Iarge si,ed organisms reproduce at a smaller rate than small si,ed organisms b. Iarge si,ed organisms use smaller ones as food sources. Cumber of species in a community increases as we move from the poles to the eAuator. 7! Commu#ity 1tability: 'ometimes ongoing moderate predation promotes diversity of prey species in a community. !his is often true when community structure is dictated by a single, dominant species or !eystone species. For example "sea star is very efficient at controlling the abundance of resident mussels, limpets, chitons and assorted barnacles. &redation by sea stars normally maintains the diversity of prey species by preventing competitive exclusion by mussels. >hen we remove sea stars, the community shrinks from 79 species to < species. 8! E)ge E((ect: 'pecies diversity is usually greater at the edges of communities than in their centers. !he edges are transitional ,ones where two or more communities meet. !herefore edges contain all or most of the ecological niches of the adjacent communities.

9! "rey0"re)ator 3elatio#ship: % predator is an animal that feeds on other living organisms -its preys. but does not take up residence on or in preys ?owever, a parasite takes up residence in or on other living organisms -its host. and feeds on their tissues. !he key point is that predators rarely reproduce as fast as preys.

ECO1Y1TE5 %n ecosystem is a community and its environment. % particular lake, meadow-Jayir. or forest -koru. is an example of ecosystem. It has biotic components -all of its living organisms. and abiotic -nonliving. components, such as nutrients, temperature, soil, light, oxygen and rainfall. %biotic factors determine what types of organisms can survive in a particular environment. For example, in deserts, there is little water available and the temperature can change daily from very hot to cold. Knly plants that are adapted to these conditions, such as cactus ,can survive. (iotic factors or the participants of the ecosytem can be studied in three groups" producers, consumers and decomposers.

) "ro)ucers.autotrophs)#!hey can synthesi,e their food material from inorganic compounds.!hey convert inorganic compounds into organic compounds. a.&hotosynthetic autotrophs# 4se energy of sunlight to synhesi,e organic compunds %ll green plants,algae and cyanobacteria are in this category.

b./hemosynthetic autotrophs#4se chemical energy to synthesi,e organic food compounds.Citrite,nitrate,sulphurL iron bacteria are in this category.

/hemosynthetic bacteria use chemical compounds to obtain energy from the chemical bonds L the energy is used to synthesi,e organic compounds from inorganic compounds. $) Co#sumers .heterotrophs or #ot sel( (ee)ers)#!hey extract energy from compounds that were put together by producers. a) Herbi,ores .primary co#sumers or pla#t eaters) # !hey directly eat producers e.g. cow,deer,rabbit,grasshopper,,ooplankton -aAuatic animals. b) Car#i,ores .seco#)ary co#sumers) # !hey consume other animals e.g. perch,owl,fox are primary carnivores while lion,hawk are secondary carnivores % carnivore that is not eaten by any other consumer is a top carnivore in the ecosystem.For example,lion,wolves,eagles,tuna 'cavengers are also carnivores such as hyena-sMrtlan.,vulture,coyote-Jakal.,sharks. c) Om#i,ore :!hey eat both plants and animals.$xamples are pigs,bears and humans !here are also some organisms that has characteristics of both autotrophs and heterotrophs.!hese organisms are euglena and insectivorous plants %) 6ecomposers .saprophytes)#!hey feed on dead organic matter that includes carcasses-leN.,leaf litter,feces etc. !hey convert organic compounds into inorganic compounds to be reused by producers.$xamples are many bacteria and fungi "ase ead wood is invaded first by sugar metaboli,ing fungi that consume the woodOs simple carbohydrates such as glucose or maltose.>hen these carbohydrates are finished,fungi,often aided by termites -with symbiotic bacteria in their guts ., complete the digestion of wood by breaking down cellulose. 7) Both "ro)ucers a#) Co#sumers:$xamples are euglena and insectivorous plants. 1Y5B'OT'C 3ELAT'ON1H'"1 'ymbiosis means Pliving togetherP for the purpose of feeding protection,sheltering etc. !he partners of a symbiotic relationship are called symbionts. a)5utualism .:;:):(oth partners benefit from the relationship. $x 7# Iichen-algae2fungi. %lgae provide food and K2 by photosynthesis.>hereas fungi provide water,carbon dioxide and support for algae Iichens are important warning signals for air pollution.!hey absorb minerals from rock and nitrogen from air.

$x 2#!his example is an obligatory mutualism called mycorrhi,ae.It occurs between fungus and roots of plant.Fungus absorb carbohydrates from host plant while roots of plant absorb mineral ions from fungus. $x 8#!his example occurs between nitrogen fixing bacteria -Ghi,obium. and legumes.Iegumes supply sugar to bacteria while bacteria live in nodules in the roots of legumes and it supply the plants all of nitrogen they need $xD# !ermite-white ant. and a proto,oan -live in intestines of termite. show mutualistic relationship.!ermite provides food and living space whereas proto,oan digest cellulose for termite. $x 9#5ost flowering plant and their pollinators are mutualistic. b)Comme#salism .<;:):Kne organism benefit and the other neither harmed nor helped $x 7# % small fish-pilot fish. attach itself to shark and feeds on scraps of food left by shark.Kn the other hand,shark is unaffected by this pilot fish. $x 2# !ree and roosting bird shows commensalism.Goosting bird gain sites however tree gets nothing in turn. $x 8# !ropical tree and its epiphytes have this relationship.!ree remains largely unaffected.$piphytes are small plants that live attached to the bark of tropical tree.(ut they do not obtain nutrients or water directly from tree. c)"arasitism:.0;:):Kne partner benefits and the other harmed due to the relation.&arasites do not have digestive en,ymes" however they have well developed reproductive systems.'ome parasites cause slight damage to their hosts,while other kill the host. !here are two types of parasites# 7.Mnternal &arasite#!hey live inside the body of hosts,feed on digested materials in intestines.Goundworms and tapeworms are examples. 2.$xternal &arasite#!hey live on the surface of their hosts,feed on hosts blood or skin. 5osAuito,thick and flea are examples. 2OO6 CHA'N1 AN6 2OO6 =EB1: % food chain is the transfers of sunOs energy from producers to consumers in the ecosystem as organisms feed on one another.

% food web is the interconnected pattern of food chains in an area.$very food chain or food web begins with autotrophic organisms that are producers for the community.%nd every food chain or web ends with decomposers ,organisms of decay.

Trophic Le,el#It is the hierarchy of energy transfers .$ach successive level of nutrition is a tropic level.For example"all the producers constitute the first trophic level,the primary consumers constitute the second trophic level,and so on... ENE3GY 2LO=:

Biomass: !otal mass of organic matter in organisms or ecosystems .>ater is not included. %t each successive trophic level, there is loss of energy L biomass from the system.!he loss results from " ) /onsumers can not use all available biomass of preys . For example"parts such as bone,fur,skin,nail,horn may not be used efficiently. $) /onsumers may not assimilate all available biomass.For example,with the exception of ruminants and termites,most herbivores can not metaboli,e cellulose walls of plant cells. %) /ellular respiration is only D0 6 efficient.E0 6 of the chemical energy becomes heat rather than %!&.?eat energy cannot be passed on -as food. to another organisms.It is lost from food chain.5ost of the energy is also consumed during metabolic processes such as mpvement. In general"when energy is transferred from one trophic level to another,only approximately 70 6 is used for growth -building new materials..!he rest is used for other metabolic activities -find,catch,kill prey. and waste. !he decrease of energy at each trophic level means that less biomass can be supported at each level.?ence the total mass of carnivores in a given community is less than the total mass of herbivores.

For example#


Biological 5ag#i(icatio#: is the accumulation of posionous materials in increasing Auantities in the members of a food chain or food web.!oxic substances like pesticides ! etc..,radioactive isotopes,heavy metals -mercury etc.and industrial chemicals may exhibit biological magnification.Krganisms higher on the food chain tend to carry greater concentrations of posionous materials in their bodies than do those that are lower on the food chain.

5ATTE3 CYCLE1 !=ater Cycle: >ater enters the atmosphere by evaporation -6<D from ocean and 67E from land. and transpiration. >ater returns to surface through precipitation -6:: over ocean and 628 over land. and condensation. !his cycle is physical process,no chemical changes are involved.

$!Carbo# a#) O-yge# Cycle:

%!Nitroge# Cycle: Citrogen fixing is performed by bacteria living in the roots of legumes where they occur in nodules.%tmospheric nitrogen is fixed into soil in forms of ammonia salts -C?D . or sometimes in forms of aminoacids. #itrification is the process that is accomplished by two different groups of bacteria.!he first group converts ammonia into nitrite and the second group converts this nitrite into nitrate and releases it into soil where it can be picked up by the roots of plants.

$enitrification#some bacteria converts ammonia or nitrite or nitrate into atmospheric N$ and releases it.In short denitrifing bacteria remove nitrogen from the soil.