INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGYEcology the study of the interrelationships of living organisms and their all the living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic or physical)conditions that act on an organism and affect its chances of survivalAbiotic Factors non-living or physical factors e.g.temperature, amount of water,amount of oxygen, amount of lightBiotic Factors living factors e.g.amount of food, predators, parasites,competitorsCommunity all the organisms in a particular area at a given time the number of a particular species in an area at a specific timeHabitat the area in which an organism livesEcosystem a natural unit of living and non-living parts that interact to produce astable system in which the exchange of materials between living and non-livingparts cyclesBiome, easily differentiated community unit arising as aresult of complex interactions of climate, other physical factors and biotic factors.Examples of Biomes are tundra, temperate grassland, desert and tropicalBiosphere The Biosphere is the collective interaction of all the biomes on theRELATIONSHIPS IN THE ENVIRONMENTSymbiosis - a relationship in which two organisms of different species 'livetogether' for a period of timeParasitism - a form of symbiosis in which one organism derives nutrients from thesecond organism which suffers some harm but is usually not killed (e.g.A tick isthe parasite that feeds off a dog which is the - a form of symbiosis in which both organisms help each other (e.g.Aremora fish eats the algae and barnacles from the skin of a shark which, in turn,protects the remora.)Commensalism - a form of symbiosis in which one organism helps the otherorganism, but there is no benefit nor harm done in return (e.g.A clown fish livesinside a sea anemone and is protected by it.
The sea anemone derives no benefitnor harm from the relationship.)Predator / Prey Relationships the relationship in which one organism (predator)hunts and eats another (prey) (e.g
.lion / antelope)Competition a relationship where two types of organisms compete for the sameresource such as food, water, nesting site (e.g.sheep and kangaroos compete forgrass)POPULATIONS the number of individuals of the same species in a given area at agiven areaFactors affecting PopulationsAvailable resources (e.g.food, water, shelter)Activities of other organisms (e.g.predators, disease-causing parasites)Organisms own characteristics (e.g.gestation period, number of youngproduced, nurturing of young, migratory)Time of day or year (e.g.
tides, seasons, nocturnal or diurnal)Weather (e.g.amount of rainfall, cyclone, drought)Population Change depends on birth, death, immigration and emigration on the
Population Change = ( B + I ) ( D + E )Population Density The number of organisms in a given area can affect thepopulation due to competition for resources such as food water and nesting places,and spread of disease. Population Density = number of individuals area occupied
The population density may be measured in different ways (e.g.7/km of kangaroos,8000/mL of bacteria).3 Population Sampling TechniquesMark-Recapture MethodADAPTATIONSAdaptation a characteristic of an organism that enables it to function moreeffectively or survive in its surroundings5 Types of AdaptationsStructural related to the structure of the organism (e.g.The streamlinedshape of fish enables it to swim more quickly through water.)Colour related to colour (e.g.camouflage, warning colouration of blue-ringed octopus, mimicry of butterfly wings with eye spot)Physiological related to the organisms metabolism (e.g.Duringhibernation, bears reduce their chemical processes.)Behavioural related to behaviour (e.g.
During the heat of the day in thedesert, lizards burrow into the sand to find a cooler place.)Reproductive related to courtship, mating or rearing of young (e.g.Peacocks fan their feathers to attract a mate.)Did You Know That ?Sharks can hear a swimmer's heartbeat 3 to 4 metres away.That's why they are sowell adapted for hunting.Humans show some signs that resemble hibernation.
When we sleep, our bodytemperatures do drop slightly before and during sleeping..
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