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The Living World 1


Ecological Niche The role or position occupied by an organism, including the function of that organism within an ecological community. Characteristics include: - Adaptive traits - Habitat - Interactions with biotic and abiotic factors - Place in the food web - Types and amounts of resources available
Primary Productivity The production of organic compounds from carbon dioxide and occurs through the process of photosynthesis.
Gross Primary Productivity The rate at which producers capture and store a given amount of chemical energy as biomass in a given length of time.
Net Primary Productivity The energy remaining after respiration. (Some net primary productivity goes towards growth and reproduction of primary producers, while some is consumed by herbivores).
Law of Tolerance An organism's success is based on a complex set of conditions that include a certain minimum, maximum, and optimum environmental factor or combination of factors. (Examples: Climate, Oxygen content of water, pH of water, soil nutrients, topography)
"Law of minimum" and Limiting Factors To occur and thrive in a given situation, an organism must have essential materials necessary for growth and reproduction. (Examples of limiting factors: Amount of chlorophyll, amount of CO2 available, amount of H2O available, etc.)
Photosynthesis (formula & definition) 6CO2 + 6 H2O + energy (sunlight) --> C6H12O6 + 6O2 (formula) Autotrophs (plants) produce their own organic compounds using carbon dioxide form the air or water in which they live. They use solar radiation as their source of energy in this process.
Cellular Respiration (formula & definition) C6H12O6 + 6O2 --> 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy Heterotrophs release carbon back into the environment through a process called cellular (aerobic) respiration.
Anaerobic Respiration Little or no Oxygen, can produce marsh gas (H2S) or methane from some animals (e.g., cattle), which accounts for ~ 15% of all CH4 released
10% Rule and Ecological Efficiency When energy moves between trophic levels, only 10% of the energy is made available for the next higher level. The exception is the transition from the Sun to producers, in which case only 1% of the energy is retained. (90% lost primarily as metabolic heat
Energy Pyramids An energy pyramid is a graphical model of energy flow in a community; it shows the amount of useful energy that enters each level. ----- Typical units for an energy pyramid are kcal (or kJ) per m2.
Generalist Species - Able to withstand a wide range of environmental conditions. - Have broad niches (Examples: cockroaches, mice, raccoons, coyotes, humans, and horseshoe crabs (wide diet on sea bed floor, tolerates wide range of water temperature, can survive in low-oxygen waters and being out of water for extended periods)
Specialist Species Prefer environments with more competition (e.g. rainforests, which have huge diversity and competition) - Have narrow niches - Prone to extinction - Sensitive to environment change Examples: Giant Pandas (eat only bamboo) and Koala (eats only eucalyptus leaves)
Ecosystem Services The benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Ex.'s: - Provisioning services: the products obtained from ecosystems (e.g. genetic resources, food and fiber, fresh water) - Regulating services: the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes (e.g. regulations involving climate change & water quality) - Supporting services: those necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services (e.g. biomass production, production of atmospheric oxygen, soil formation & retention, etc.)
Biomes Regional or global biotic communities characterized by the dominant forms of plant life with the prevailing climate (e.g. temperature and precipitation) being the most important determinant. Biomes are classified by the type of dominant plant and animal life.
Aquatic Biomes Many organisms (e.g. filter feeders) obtain nutrients directly from water thereby reducing energy spent on searching for food (e.g. barnacles, clams, and oysters) - Water allows for the efficient dispersal of gametes and larvae to new areas. - Water has a high thermal capacity. Most organisms do not spend energy on temperature regulation. - Water provides buoyancy & reduces organisms' need for support structures such as legs & trunks. - Water screens out ultraviolet radiation.
Antarctic Biome Antarctic seas are very productive due to growth of phytoplankton occurring in the extended daylight of summer. - Climate is cold and dry (desert). - There is little light in the winter. - There is a low biodiversity. - There are low precipitation amounts. - Major environmental threats include climate change, oceanic acidification, overfishing, invasive species, and exploitation of natural reserves (oil and gas). - Snow rarely melts & eventually compresses (e.g. ice sheets)
Marine Biome Environmental threats include overfishing, pollution, rising temperature, increased acidification, & invasive species. - Highest net primary productivity of any biome; however, there are vast areas of the open ocean that are very low in Nitrogen, Iron, and Phosphorus & are "nutrient deserts" with low productivity & consequently low diversity of plant & animal life. - Land based ecosystems depend on topsoil & freshwater, while the marine ecosystem depends on dissolved nutrients washed down from the land
Freshwater Biome - Includes lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, ditches, gutters, canals, & puddles. - Freshwater consists of ~3% of all water on Earth, with about 75% of that being used for irrigation; only ~0.3% of freshwater is found on the surface water of lakes, rivers, & swamps. - Generally high in nutrition and minerals, allowing for a wide diversity of plants and animals. - 70% of the water that is used to irrigate crops comes from freshwater biomes. - Global warming & pollution have a huge impact on due to size
Desert Biomes Deserts are defined by amount of rainfall (< 10 inches per year), not by temperature (e.g. polar deserts & Arctic tundra) - Most deserts are located between 15 and 35 degrees latitude (N & S of the equator) - Evaporation rates regularly exceed rainfall rates - Temperatures exhibit daily extremes because the atmosphere contains little humidity to block the Sun's rays. - Desert surfaces receive more than twice the solar radiation received by humid regions and lose almost twice as much heat at night.
Desert Animals - Most are small and have small surface areas to reduce water loss. - Spend time in burrows. - Often nocturnal. - Aestivation (summer hibernation) - Able to metabolize dry seeds. - Kangaroo rats secrete concentrated urine. - Insects and reptiles have thick outer scales. - Often involve migratory patterns for larger organisms.
Desert Plants -Spread apart due to limiting factors. Examples: cactus & wildflowers - Succulents store water - Small surface areas vertically oriented are exposed to sunlight - Cacti & succulents use a form of photosynthesis in which the stomata in the leaves remain shut down during the day to reduce evapotranspiration but open at night to collect carbon dioxide (CO2) - Waxy leaves - Deep roots to reach groundwater - Shallow roots to absorb limited rainfall - Spines discourage herbivores & reflect light
Tropical Rainforests Characterized by the greatest diversity of species of any biome - Occur near the equator - Winter is absent, and only 2 seasons are present (rainy & dry) - The length of daylight is 12 hours and varies little - Temperature is warm-hot and varies little throughout the year - Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, with little annual rainfall exceeding 80 inches (200 cm) - Soil is nutrient-poor and acidic - Decomposition is rapid and soils are subject to heavy leaching
Taiga Animals have specialized adaptations (thick furs or feathers & the ability to change colors during different seasons) - Fires are common & necessary to help rid the area of the old & sick trees - Lots of insects, which results in birds, migrating there to feed - Many animals migrate to warmer areas or hibernate during long, cold winters - Moderate precipitation; plenty of snow during the winter & plenty of rainfall during the summer - Largest terrestrial biome (Europe, North America, and Asia
Tundra - Colder of all the biomes with little precipitation - Contaminated soil is long-lasting due to the cold & very slow bacterial activity - Permafrost: perennially frozen subsoil found in Arctic or Subarctic regions - Treeless landscapes with simple vegetation structure - Short growing and reproductive seasons - Mammals and birds have extra layers of fat for insolation. - Migration & hibernation are common animal adaptations due to weather extremes - Low biotic diversity
Savanna Grassland with scattered individual trees (both dry & rainy season) - Covers 50% of African and large areas of Australia, South America, and India - Found in warm, hot climates where the annual rainfall is 20-50 inches year, followed by a long period of drought - Soil is porous, with rapid drainage of water and only a thin layer of humus - Frequent fires and large grazing mammals kill seedlings, thus keeping the density of trees & shrubs low - Environmental concerns include poaching, overgrazing, etc
Amensalism One species is harmed; the other is unaffected Example: The bread mold Penicillum secretes penicillin, which is a chemical that kills bacteria; the black walnut tree releases a chemical that kills neighboring plants (alleopathy) found in chaparral and desert communities. Example 2: The shading out of one plant by a taller and wider one. The taller plant neither benefits nor is harmed by the smaller plant. The smaller plant is harmed as it does not receive as much sunlight.
Commensalism One species benefits; the other is unaffected Example: Orchids and mosses grow on the trunks or branches of trees, getting the light they need as well as nutrients that run down along the tree. As long as these plants do not grow too heavy, the tree is not affected. Example 2: Remoras and sharks, mites on dung beetles, birds living in the holes of trees, hermit crabs using the shells of marine snails.
Mutualism Both species benefit in the relationship Examples: Bees fly from flower to flower gathering nectar, which they make into honey, benefiting bees. When bees land in a flower, some of the pollen sticks to their bodies. When they land in the next flower, some of the pollen from the first flower rubs off, pollinating the second plant. The bees get to eat, & the flowering plants get to reproduce. Example: Oxpeckers (type of bird) land on rhinos & zebras and eat ticks and other parasites that live on their skin
Parasitism The interaction between two species whereby one species benefits and the other species is harmed. Example: A protozoan living inside the digestive tract of a flea (epiparasite). Example: Cuckoo bird using other birds to raise their young (social parasite) Example: Fleas & ticks (ectoparasites) living off the blood of dogs & cats (hosts) Example: Tapeworms (endoprasites) attaching themselves to the insides of the intestines of animals such as cows, pigs, & humans & feeding on the host's digested food
Predation A relationship between animals in which one organism captures and feeds on others. Examples: A lion hunting & killing a zebra for food; a bear catching and killing a fish for food; a fox hunting and eating a rabbit
Saprotrophism Involves organisms that feed on or derive their nourishment from decaying organic matter (detritus) that is directly digested by enzymes. The enzymes excreted by the saprotrophs convert the detritus into simpler molecules, which are absorbed by the saprotroph. Examples: many fungi, bacteria, and protists
Keystone species A species whose absence causes the ecosystem to collapse. Examples: Certain bat species pollinate the critical trees in the rain forest and disperse their seeds - When moutain gorillas feed on fruit, they inadvertently disperse the fruit's seeds as they travel. Without gorillas, there would be fewer fruit trees for the gorillas and other animals to eat. - Grizzly bears transfer nutrients from marine to forest ecosystems
Abyssal zone (marine biome zone) Perpetual darkness, cold, high pressure, and lack of nutrients. No known plants. Biomass is directly related to the amount of food supplied from either transporting ocean currents or the water column above.
Benthic zone (marine biome zone) Bottom of the zone consists of sand, silt, and or/dead organisms, with temperatures decreasing as depth increases toward the abyssal zone. Plants consist primarily of seaweed; fauna include bacteria, fungi, sponges, sea anemones, worms, sea stars, and fish
Epipelagic (marine biome zone) Enough light for photosynthesis. Most primary production in the ocean occurs here. Most plants and animals are found in this zone.
Intertidal (marine biome zone) Above the low-water mark and below the high-water mark
Mesopelagic (marine biome zone) Temperature decreases with depth; zone where thermocline occurs. Water generally moves slowly - residency time - 100 years. Photosynthesis does not occur. Energy sources is often sinking organic matter. Most organisms are scavengers or detritivores.
Neritic (marine biome zone) Relatively shallow, above the drop-off of the continental shelf, forms a relatively stable and well-lit environment.
Upwelling The process by which warm, less dense surface water is drawn away from the shore by offshore currents and replaced by cold, denser water brought up from the subsurface. - Deep waters are rich in nutrients that include nitrates and phosphates (the result of decomposition of sinking organic matter from surface water). - During upwelling, these nutrients are utilized by phytoplankton, along with dissolved CO2 and light energy from the Sun, to produce organic compounds through photosynthesis.
Thermocline A think but distinct layer in a large body of water in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below. In the ocean, the thermocline divides the upper mixed layer from the calmer, deeper water below. Factors that affect the depth & thickness of thermocline include: - Seasonal weather variation, latitude, tides, currents
Edge effect The area where two habitat types meet. Offers unique habitats with easy access to adjacent communities that can support more plants and animals and that increase the area's biodiversity. - The borders can act as travel lanes for predators and increase predation along the edges. - Can also affect the physical and chemical conditions of the species on the borders (e.g. fertilizer from an agricultural field can run off into a bordering forest and contaminate that habitat.
Primary consumers Usually herbivores, feeding on plants and fungi (e.g. the squirrel eating acorns and the rabbit eating grass)
Secondary consumers Prey on primary consumers (e.g. the owl feeding on the squirrel that ate acorns)
Tertiary consumers Feed on secondary consumers (e.g. the hawk eating a bird that ate an insect that ate the grass)
Quaternary consumers A consumer at the top of the food chain. They are always carnivores and are often the top predators. (e.g. a leopard that eats a baboon, which ate a python, that ate a mouse, which ate grass)
Wetland (and wetlands characteristics also) Any aquatic ecosystem area that is shallow enough to support emergent vegetation (e.g. the margin around lakes may be permanently flooded). - Protect inland areas from storm surges. - Provides breeding grounds for many animals. - Rich in biodiversity. - Soil permanently or seasonally saturated by water; emergent, water-tolerant vegetation - Water table near land surface
Estuary A specific type of wetland that occurs where a river meets the ocean and that supports a unique flora consisting of plants that are capable of withstanding brackish water. - The inflow of both seawater & freshwater provides high levels of nutrients in both the water column & sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.
Deciduous forests - Trees are distinguished by broad leaves that are lost annually. - Well-defined and moderate climate growing seasons with a distinct winter. - Soil is fertile, enriched with decaying litter. - Canopy is moderately dense and allows light to penetrate, resulting in well-developed and richly diversified understory vegetation and stratification of animals. Environmental threats: acid rain, human intrusion causing disruption to wildlife & flora, invasive species, slash & burn used to clear land 4 cattle
Coniferous forests Largest terrestrial biome - Found in the broad belt of Eurasia & North America; 2/3 in Siberia with the rest in Scandinavia, Alaska, and Canada - Seasons are divided into short, moist, and moderately warm summers and long, cold, and dry winters - Temperatures are very low - Precipitation is primarily in the form of snow - Soil is thin, nutrient-poor, and acidic - Canopy permits low light penetration, and as a result, understory is limited
Temperature grasslands Grasses are the dominant vegetation. Trees and large shrubs are generally absent. - Hot summers and cold winters - Rainfall is moderate with seasonal droughts - Soil is deep and dark, with fertile upper layers and is nutrient-rich from the growth and decay of deep, many-branched grass roots - Roots hold the soil together and provide a food source for living plants - Seasonal drought, occasional fires, & grazing by large mammals all prevent woody shrubs & trees from invading and becoming established
Competitive Exclusion Principle Two species competing for the same resources cannot coexist if other ecological factors are constant. When one species has even the slightest advantage over another, the one with the advantage will dominate in the long term. - Predators control the dominant competitor. - Conditions constantly change and periodically alter the competitive advantage. Example: The red squirrel is indigenous to Britain. The gray squirrel was introduced to Britain between 1876 - 1929 & replaced the red squirrel.
Ecological Succession Series of changes in an ecological community that occur over time after a disturbance.
Primary Succession New unoccupied habitat with no soil; can be caused by volcanic eruption or glacial retreat.
Secondary Succession Soil or remnants of previous ecosystem present; caused by fire or logging.
Created by: gilmer_APES2019



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