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Lecture #1 Notes

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Maria Arts

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Lecture #1: Intro to Ecology
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-Ecology: the study of relationships between organisms and their environment
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-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
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-Many fundamental questions addressed in terms of abundance and
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-Multidisciplinary; biological disciplines related to ecology
๎€Physiology, genetics, behaviour and evolution
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-Adaptation to environmental change is the result of evolution by natural
-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
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-Environmentalism is a concern
-Environmental science: the analysis of human impact on the natural
-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 ๎€ƒ WRONG
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-Outbreaks of pests , such as locusts in North America, fall into the realm of
applied ecology
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-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
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1. Individual organism
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-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
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-Population ecology:
๎€Concerned with populations
๎€Populations: groups of individuals of the same species living in the same
-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)
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-Community ecology: concerned with communities; assemblages of populations
of different species
-Focuses on how interactions between species affect community structure and
-Factors that influence the relative abundance of a species
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-Ecosystem ecology:
๎€Concerned with ecosystems
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