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Talavera, Nueva Ecija

Lecture 1: Introduction to Ecology

Prepared by: Gracie Ann M. Dy

Ecology - is the scientific study of the relationships of living organisms with their natural
- It is derived from the Greek word “ oikos” meaning house and “logie” meaning study
by Ernst Haeckel in 1866 which is an interdisciplinary part of Biology.

Ecologist – is a person that studies the relationship of living organisms to its environment.

Ecology addresses the full scale of life, from tiny bacteria to processes that span the
entire planet. Ecologists study many diverse and complex relations among species, such
as predation and pollination. The diversity of life is organized into different habitats,
from terrestrial, aerial to aquatic ecosystems.

Ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction

with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil),
interacting as a system.

History of Ecology

 Ancient Greek philosophers such as Hippocrates and Aristotle were among the first to record
observations on natural history.
 Herodotus (died c. 425 BC), who described one of the earliest accounts of mutualism in his
observation of "natural dentistry" .
- Basking Nile crocodiles, he noted, would open their mouths to give sandpipers safe
access to pluck leeches out, giving nutrition to the sandpiper and oral hygiene for the
 Aristotle and his student Theophrastus made extensive observations on plant and animal
migrations, biogeography, physiology, and on their behavior, giving an early analogue to the
modern concept of an ecological niche.
 1700s, through the published works of microscopist Antoine van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723)
and botanist Richard Bradley (1688–1732), ecological concepts such as food chains,
population regulation, and productivity were first developed.
 Biogeographer Alexander von Humbolt (1769–1859) was an early pioneer in ecological
thinking and was among the first to recognize ecological gradients.

Other Scientist involved in the history of ecology

 A. Eugenius Warming with the writing of Oecology of Plants: Introduction to the study of plant
 B. Carl Linnaeus - founded an early branch of ecology that he called the economy of nature.
 C. Charles Darwin, who adopted Linnaeus' phrase on the economy or polity of nature in The
Origin of Species.
 In,1789 publication Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White (1720–1793), considered by
some to be one of the earliest texts on ecology.
 In the early 20th century, ecology transitioned from a more descriptive form of natural
history to a more analytical formof scientific natural history .
 Frederic Clements published the first American ecology book in 1905, presenting the idea of
plant communities as a superorganism.
 Henry Gleason,who stated that ecological communities develop from the unique and
coincidental association of individual organisms.
 Charles Elton pioneered the concept of food chains in his classical book Animal Ecology.
 Alfred J. Lotka brought in many theoretical concepts applying thermodynamic principles to
 In 1942, Raymond Lindeman wrote a landmark paper on the trophic dynamics of ecology .
 Robert E. MacArthur advanced mathematical theory, predictions and tests in ecology in the
 Vladimir Vernadsky and his founding of the biosphere concept in the 1920.
 Kinji Imanishi and his concepts of harmony in nature and habitat segregation in the 1950..
 Aldo Leopold and Arthur Tansley, notable ecologist in the history of Conservation Biology.
 In 1962, marine biologist and ecologist Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring helped to mobilize
the environmental movement by alerting the public to toxic pesticides.

Ecology is the study of the relationship between living things and their environment.
These relationships take place in the biosphere (the part of the earth and its atmosphere in
which living organisms exist or that is capable of supporting life), which is divided into smaller
units called ecosystem.

Ecosystem is made up Community (all living organisms in a certain area).Community

consist of a number of population ( group of individuals of the same species that live in the
same area).
Each organism in a community has a habitat or a place in which it lives and a niche or a
particular role within a habitat.

2 Components of an Ecosystem
A. Biotic Components – living things
B. Abiotic Components – non living things.

Biotic Component can be:

1.Macroscopic – can be seen by our naked eye
2. Microscopic – cannot be seen by naked eye and be viewed using a microscope.

Biotic Factors are classified as:

 Producers
 Consumers
 Secondary Consumers
 Decomposers

1.Producer or AUTOTROPHS
- An organism that make its own food from light energy or chemical energy.

2.Consumer or HETEROTROPHS
- is a living thing that eats other living things to stay alive.
- It cannot produce their own food

Kinds of Consumer
a. Herbivores – these are animals that eats mainly plants
b. Carnovores – these are animals that eats flesh or meat
c. Omnivores – these are animals that eats both meat and plants

3. Decomposer or Detritivores - consumes or eat dead plants and animals

Abiotic Factors are group into main categories:

1. Climatic Factor – includes sunlight, humidity, temperature, atmosphere, etc..
2. Edaphic Factor – include the nature and type of soil, geology of land, etc..
3. Social Factor – include land use, water resources, etc..

Major Ecosystem

The Major Ecosystem

Natural ecosystems vary in size and sustainability. Variation in an ecosystem is an indication of
Biodiversity which is the variety of species living within an ecosystem.

Ecosystem is classified into:

• Terrestrial Ecosystem – is an ecosystem found in landform which includes tundra, taiga,
temperate deciduous forest, and grassland.
• Aquatic Ecosystem – is an ecosystem in a body of water.

1. Terrrestial Ecosystem

A. Tundra - tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short
growing seasons.
B. Taiga - is a major subarctic, geographic region of the earth's surface characterized
by coniferous forests and generally long and cold winters.
C. Temperate Deciduous Forest - are forests in cool, rainy areas; they have trees that lose their
leaves in Fall and regrow them in Spring. They have four distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and
D. Grassland - are large, rolling terrains of grasses, flowers and herbs.
E. Forest Ecosystem – the richest terrestrial ecosystem in terms of complexity and biodiversity.
Rainforest – is a woodland characterized by verdant, lush vegetation with high
temperature and rainfall throughout the year.

2. Aquatic Ecosystem
- an ecosystem in a body of water.
- The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

A. Marine Ecosystem - Marine ecosystems cover approximately 71% of the Earth's surface and
contain approximately 97% of the planet's water.

Marine ecosystems can be divided into many zones depending upon water depth and shoreline

• a. Oceanic Zone - is the vast open part of the ocean where animals such as whales, sharks, and
tuna live.
• B. Benthic zone - consists of substrates below water where many invertebrates live.
• C. Intertidal zone - is the area between high and low tides littoral zone.
• D. Neritic zone - estuaries, salt marshes, coral reefs and mangrove.
D1. Estuaries – is the meeting zone of fresh water from rivers and saltwater from the sea.
D2. Salt marshers - are coastal wetlands rich in marine life. They are sometimes called
tidal marshes, because they occur in the zone between low and high tides.
• Coral Reefs - is the term for any fully marine, underwater ecosystem with a calcium carbonate
foundation produced by the skeletons of living organisms .
• Mangrove - a distinct saline woodland or shrubland habitat characterized by
a depositional coastal environments, where fine sediments (often with high organic content)
collect in areas protected from high-energy wave action.

B. Freshwater - Freshwater ecosystems cover 0.80% of the Earth's surface.

There are three basic types of freshwater ecosystems:

• Lentic: slow-moving water, including pools, ponds, and lakes.
• Lotic: rapidly-moving water, for example streams and rivers.
• Wetlands: areas where the soil is saturated or inundated for at least part of the time