Lecture #1 Notes

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12 Dec 2010
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Lecture #1: Intro to Ecology
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Slide 3
-Ecology: the study of relationships between organisms and their environment
Slide 4:
-More specifically: ecology is the scientific study of interactions that determine
the distribution and abundance of organisms
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-To determine the causes of distribution and abundance of organisms
Slide 6:
-Many fundamental questions addressed in terms of abundance and
distribution
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Slide 2:
-Multidisciplinary; biological disciplines related to ecology
Physiology, genetics, behaviour and evolution
Slide 3:
-Adaptation to environmental change is the result of evolution by natural
selection
-Evolution: change in genetic structure over time
For evolution to occur, there must be variation
-Individuals express their genome in their phenotype
Phenotypic plasticity: a variation/ variable expression of the phenotype in
response to variability in environmental conditions
Genetic information is the same
Environment causes variation in phenotypic nature/expression
Slide 4:
-Environmentalism is a concern
-Environmental science: the analysis of human impact on the natural
environment
-Environmentalism: a social movement attempting to minimize human
impact on our planet
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-We had this belief that we could do anything to our planet, and nothing
would happen WRONG
Pg 3
Slide 2:
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-Outbreaks of pests , such as locusts in North America, fall into the realm of
applied ecology
Slide 3:
-Hippocrates and Aristotle (800-400 BC)
-Rabbits made an absolute dessert because the population exploded, therefore
this shows this shows that we need predators in order to keep some species
under control
Slide 5:
1. Individual organism
2.Population
3.Community
4.Ecosystem
5.Landscape
6.Biome
7.Biosphere
Slide 6:
-Organismal ecology : concerned with evolutionary adaptations ( anatomy,
physiology, etc) that enable individual organisms to meet the challenges
posed by their environments
-Birth to death process of organism
-Organismal ecology focuses on individual organisms
Pg 4
Slide 1:
-Population ecology:
Concerned with populations
Populations: groups of individuals of the same species living in the same
area
-Population ecology concentrates primarily on factors that affect population
density and growth; rates of birth and death, and distribution of individuals
Populations interact with one another (e.g. predation and competition)
Slide 2:
-Community ecology: concerned with communities; assemblages of populations
of different species
-Focuses on how interactions between species affect community structure and
organization
-Factors that influence the relative abundance of a species
Slide 3:
-Ecosystem ecology:
Concerned with ecosystems
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