BIOL2060 Lecture 1: Unit 1 Notes.docx

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25 Feb 2015
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BIOL*2060 Unit 1: Introduction
Textbook Notes: 2-10, 14-49, 54, 94-98, 114-117, 118-124
2-10
Ecology – study of the relationships between organisms and the environment
obranch of science studying relationships b/w organisms and environment
oHistorically very relevant for agriculture and hunter/gathering, however the study
is recent to the 19th century
Behavioural ecology – study of the relationships between organisms and environment
that are mediated by behaviour
Physiological ecology – the study of how physiological limitations and adaptation
influence the ability of organisms to cope with biotic and abiotic stress
Community ecology – the scientific study of interactions among species within a
community
Ecosystem ecology – the sub-discipline of ecology that focuses on the flow of energy
and nutrients among the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem
Landscape ecology – the study of landscape structures and processes
Macroecology – a sub-discipline of ecology that focuses on the study of ecological
patterns and processes that occur over a large geographic extent
Biosphere – portions of earth that support life; also refers to the total global ecosystem
Eutrophication – nutrient enrichment of a water body through natural processes or
pollination, generally causing rapid algal growth and reduced dissolved oxygen levels
Primary productivity – measure of plant growth rate, per unit area, per unit time (in
contrast to standing biomass)
Ecotone – a spatial transition from one type of ecosystem to another (ex: transition
between woodland and grassland)
14-49
Natural history is the study of how organisms in a particular area are influenced by
factors like climate, soils, predators, competitors, mutualists, and evolutionary history
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Biomes - large-scale classification of terrestrial habitats, distinguished primarily by their
predominant plants and are associated with particular climates; consisting of distinctive
plant formations such as the tropical rain forest and the desert biome
Uneven heating of the earth’s spherical surface by the sun and the tilt of the earth on its
axis combine to produce predictable latitudinal variation in climate
Soil structure results from the long-term interaction of climate, organisms, topography,
and parent mineral material
Geographic distribution of terrestrial biomes corresponds closely to variation in climate,
especially prevailing temperature and precipitation
Coriolis effect – a phenomenon caused by the rotation of the earth, which produces a
deflection of winds and water currents to the right of their direction of travel in the
Northern Hemisphere and to the left of their direction of travel in the Southern
Hemisphere
Climate diagram – a standardized form of representing average patterns of variation in
temperature and precipitation that identifies several ecologically important climatic
factors such as relatively moist periods and periods of draught
Soil – the upper layer of the earth’s land surface, consisting of organic matter and
minerals
oComplex mixture of living and nonliving material upon which most terrestrial life
depends
oMore organic carbon stored below ground than above ground – with the surface
of soil having the majority of the organic matter
O (organic) horizons – the most superficial soil layer containing substantial amounts of
organic matter, including whole leaves, twigs, other plant parts, and highly fragmented
organic matter
LFH horizons – consists of leaves, twigs, and other organic materials; found primarily in
upland habitats, such as forests
A horizon – a biologically active soil layer consisting of a mixture of mineral materials,
such as clay, silt, and sand, as well as organic material, derived from the overlying O
horizon; generally characterized by leaching
Humus – partially decomposed organic matter, generally found in soil
B horizon – a subsoil in which materials leached from above, generally from the A
horizon, accumulate; may be rich in clay, organic matter, iron, and other materials
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