Introduction to Ecology
- Team of ecologist
- Study population size of species
- Stellar Sea Lions:
o 3 metres
o Weigh = A metric ton
o Males = aggressive/ defending territory
o Smell bad
o Therefore scientist you must close enough to count them, but not get in their territory
o Area allows them to feed on 2 types of fish:
Feed on small fish
Groups if not alone (mainly: alone)
Way too small
Travel in huge schools
- Geographical distribution: Good range
- Triangle is Roulcaree
o Come to shore and give birth
o Only go on beaches protected by predators in water (killer whales) and land cliffs (foxes
- Divide the sea lions into 2 groups:
When we count?
- Do we compare population with years past/ analyze the past population of sea lions
o Number of sea lion way smaller in east than west
o Initially: West as huge population, and east very small o Middle: West population has drastic decrease, east begin to gradually increase
o Now: West population is decreasing, while East is increasing.
o This graph shows us that population changes over time, we have out why?
Class Discussion: Why is this happening?
- Industrialization and associated pollution
- Increase in competition for resources
- West population was part of eastern population
- Global Warming
- Predator population differences
- Space competition
- Right Answer: Overfishing
o In the west 1960 the fisheries closed
o This meant that no fishing on polluck, so polluck population increased
o Polluck feed on herring and sea lion eat polluck
o In east 1970, the polluck fisheries increased, which meant that 2 species praying on
Polluck – hard to find by sea lions as travel alone, and eat on polluck
Sea lions – feed on polluck but they are harder to find and have less nutritional
value as herring. The meat of a herring is 10% more fatty and they are easier to
capture as travel in schools
So in the west, they hunt on polluck due to its availability, while in east feed on
mostly herring. In the latter case, it is decreasing due to immense fishing, which
increases competition for food between predators.
o Pups of sea lion survive better on herring [small population of sea lion in east at
o Pup mortality drove this process
How do crustaceans cope with human actions?
Some types of Whales: Why study?
- Feed herring
- Bay of fundi: Huge fisheries
- They get caught in net can’t come up to breathe
- Resolution after research: o Put a beaker on nest, so the people on the boat can hear the sound of the whale;
sounds like a truck going back, and check if net feels full. They know then that they have
caught a whale.
Lecture 2: What is Ecology?
How do we define ecology?
How is ecology structured?
How do we study ecology?
Why are ecologist never 100% certain?
Steller Sea Lions
Why the different types of population species in similar areas? Change in the fishing! Discussion of
Population. Were we population ecologist?
How do we define it? What comes to your mind?
- The earth
- The relationship of an organism with it environment, which can be abiotic or biotic.
- Survival of the individual in an environment leading to its success.
- Relationship between organism and the enviro they live in.
Clicker Question 4 possible definitions: Best according to class: B!
a) Their habitat + effect of human impact
b) their habitat, abiotic + other organisms. The economy of nature – eco textbook. To look at it
from economic stand point. Relationships! Enviro is broadly defined. How can we study ecology?
At what levels?
c) Their habitat + abiotic factors only
d) Other organisms only.
1. Might interact with other polar bear, or other animals – Interaction of individual with enviro
2. Populations – Look at population as a over time/ space.
3. Community - May pop not isolated, they interact with enviro – abiotic/ biotic
4. Ecosystem – Interaction of communities with particular are over certain time period 5. Landscape – processes
2 Things implied in the hierarchy:
- Scale increase. Even if animal that can swim over 100 km like polar bear. From ind to bio
- Complexity increases. From ind to bio. More complex in landscape than individual.
Clicker Question Which level would you study?
e. Landscape/ biome/ biosphere
- By looking at individual we cover the other levels, as that has an impact on the rest.
- Easier to start/ less complex – individual.
- Ecosystem – definition of ecology is the organism + environment
- Community – Prey/ predator
- Ecology – Which animals have most impact on community/ ecosystem
- Answer: depends on question. No inherently better level, it depends on the question you’re
asking, past knowledge. Small population – so work on individual, if we have plenty of data we
can start at community level. No level better/ worse/ valuable/ not, in scology we want to
connect at these levels, and connect them. Somebody figured out that sea lion feed on the 2
fish, and which one better, so we did population, and we can further expand on next level. The
ecosystem and fisheries impact – research done here too! How do we go about studying these
levels? Scientific Method
We will explore Scientific Hypothesis
Lesser Burdock :
- Interest: what happens to the plants where they move from where involved in Europe to new
place at North America?
- Hypothesis: New species released, they are free from predators. This plant population invaded is
part of Predator release population. Do they do better, that prominent predators aren’t there? How does this method work?
1. Observation: Predators occurred in Europe are introduced here as well. One sea lion pop is
decline, other increasing.
2. Hypothesis: Doing well since doesn’t have to fight predators? Sea lion increasing/ decreasing
3. Hypothesis: therefore expand energy in growth. Fisheries.
4. Prediction: If fishing causing than sea lion feed on polluck do worse than those with herring?
5. Hypothesis testing
6. Error: confounding factor – either on seal lion or in fish population.
7. Are consistent: Refine observation/ different scale on hierarchal level, and lead other research.
This is the kind of model that goes in the research way – Circular pattern! There are different ways of
thinking of scientific process. Data/ interpret it/ results consistent or not/ benefits or outcomes/ new
Clicker Question Which Model you would choose?
Linear is less complex, think of what’s going on. Encourage – to play around with 2.
What can we learn?
Science is not just immense info, there is cataloging, but science is more complex than that. That’s why
ppl prefer B. There are processes shown in B, but not in A. Arguing – Science! This is essential part –
constant testing, when you see other research, first thing you should do is analyze it critically, maybe
another model easier for question asking, are we looking at the right level? This is essential for
successful science? Scepticism!
Debate – No way to interpret data properly, and no way to increase knowledge without debate. They
engage in this process, in which these 2 are necessary part for the best data to emerge at the end.
Scientist always arguing their job.
How does this fit in the sea lion model?
1. Observation – Counting individual – population difference, one declining other increasing
2. Why? Going up
3. Any of the answer we can take – so fisheries are why! Due to change in fishing
4. Physic envy – we like to be physicist, why? Imaging you is out there where they grow prim rose
in field, and after few months’ measure growth. The conditions here – life/ water/ soil – same
size on both edges – very less likely. Speed of sound is the same! Much more repeatable than in
biology? Clicker Question Why do we deal with uncertainty?
a. Don’t know what they are doing
b. Variations in abiotic environment
c. Complexity of bio systems
d. Because of emergent properties of complete systems that are not obvious from studying the
parts. Individuals may react differently in groups than as individuals. Nature of what we are
measuring has variability/ uncertainty.
Even if measure sea lions from same population, there is always variability, you’re dealing with plants/
animal they don’t react/ aren’t the same. The hierarchy here is complex! The more complex – harder for
same. Answer – B to D. Not A!
Article: FRESH ECOLOGY
Impacts of different environment – Uncut forestation near coffee crops! If they have any impact on
- Costa Rica
- 6 places where they looked for coffee boar, that boar into bean and ruins it. Look for birds and
people sampling. Looked for feces of bird – any beetle DNA. Excluded birds in certain areas, how
many beans are infested? Compare with areas with birds in forest? MAP
- Birds excluded – Many infected beans. Bats – didn’t seem to have impact! Both together --?
Birds/ bats: immense reduction with the number of beans infected.
- MODELLING: If we look at the number of birds in forest are, and decrease the beetle rate, fly out
on to the plantation and look for beetles.
- Purple – lots of birds in this area
Conclude: Allow space for 50000 birds, and these birds that save coffee beans equal the average income
of Costa Rican – save money!
Lecture 3: Climate
- Engage with what’s going on with the biology department
- There are weekly seminars
- Cutting-edge research
- Not all that formal
- Can bring lunch to seminar
- Exchange of thoughts - Great way to see the research going on
- Can tweet about an interesting article about ecology
What factors contribute to climate and how are they connected?
What causes irregulations in climate pattern?
How do organism experience climate?
We need to understand how does the organism relate to the abiotic and biotic environment?
Where are these places?
1. Somewhere where it is warm + lots of water [Ecuador]
2. Places: desert like – not a lot of rain [Canadian Artic]
On earth - In certain areas conditions that are so different that we place them in a place with such
climatic condition. We want to understand the reasons behind these conditions.
There are different climates on earth?
- Long term pattern [YEARS, DECADES] + average patterns [NOT SINGLE EVENTS, indicate changes
but don’t describe climate]
- Massive snow storm doesn’t change the climate of place where it happens
- Can describe at different spatial scale
o Globe – these days due to global change
o Local – Microclimate
- What causes these long-term patterns?
- First analysis = sun
- The sun has every different impact on where your are
- Axis = 23.5 degreees
- Graph = 3 line
o Blue: equator o These 3 curves very distinct, the amount of solar radiation received dependent on
o Seasons: Equator things stay some, as you move up the latitude things began to change,
where no sun in winter, and summer there is unintrupted sun.
Familiar with Elevation
- Y axis – km
- X – temp
- Higher you go the lower the temperature
- Even further up, even different patterns
- Imp: elevation has impact on the long term conditions on organism
All of these aspects are in motion!
- When air warms it rises
- Global pattern of wind duration which is constant where ever you go
- Warm air rises to higher attitude, cools and move to south, warms, and than rises again.
- Twisted/ interrupted – additional worse on winds, Need to know that long term average
pattern of wind flow, areas where you will have rising air mass + lowering air mass.
- BE ABLE TO DISCUSS HOW THE SUN IMPACT THE LIVES OF ORGANISM!
- Wind pattern – global + constant
- Measurement of water flow across the ocean
- Plot here the speed and extent of water
- Gulf stream – more water than Atlantic
- 2.5 km/ hour
- Africa – water currents start water masses flowing across the edge, get circular pattern
- YouTube – Ocean Currents
- Over equator – Middle America – Galapagos island the water flow here! Coming and going other
- Artic curve – 60 degrees south all around Antarctic, encloses it as a liquid barrier – by which it is
impossible for some to survive.
- These patterns were crucial for humans – for trading!
Movie: 1935 – The mutiny of bounty
- True story of how important these currents used to be
- If your sailor today
- With steam and engine powered ship – change - Bounty – bread food from Tahiti to Caribbean, from England to Tahiti and then to Caribbean.
- Snag – rounding Cape Horn from east to west current, they are coming from east to west. They
will spend months sitting, and sails full of air, and not going anywhere. After a month, and went
- Still important of organism in ocean
- Little/ no rain at all
- Amount of cm
- Little islands with so much rain, rainforest there you don’t see anywhere else
- The fact that you have different amount of sun energy reaching earth, ocean currents
[humidity/ temp] – all produces the pattern of precipitation you see.
- Canada – where we live? Long term average patterns
- Things change on short term, the pic represents long term average
- Rule breaking: events that ruin the pattern
- 1567 – fisher man at coast had huge number of fish school, sometime the fish won’t appear
- Someone in church noted it.
- Bring in immense number of fish, and then nothing there – occurs around Christmas time
- Disrupt the large scale average pattern
- El Niño pattern?
o Normal pattern:
What is it in Peruvian coast normally?
Blowing from east to west
These winds blow warm water to the west. Usually Indonesian water
warm and Peruvian cold.
Bathtub run with water, and put fan on side, the water will be blow to
the other side at a slope. The is exactly what is happening in Peru coast,
the water is piling up.
Blue band – area of the largest thermal change
Water temp changes equally, above/ below same
Pacific quiet deep, there is upwelling, nutrient rich water being brought
up, leading to the fish. – benefit mammals, birds + humans
El Niño vs. Normal:
- 2 loops due to wind - East/ west wind pattern, and turn of the fan, and water washes up on Peruvian coat (initially
pilling up on east)
- No continuous wind, so water spread
- And no cold water coming up, and warm water is too warm for fishes.
- Year before so much live! And then nothing!
- Long term interruption in what we describe as climate – yet even then they occur with
- Even fisherman 16th century – 7 -10th year cycle
- A measure of conditions: el Niño –warmer than average! le Nina – colder than average.
- Variation yet pattern
Climate can be studied at various scales, change more or less regular.
Can we predict the climate?
- El Niño: summary of researchers
- How strong the el Niño event? Question being asked!
- The 3 initial are real research, the rest are predictions.
- You shouldn’t put your money on them
- Most of them – weak el Niño in 2013
- Other predict just the opposite
- We don’t know which way it would go?
- Sun radiation/ precipitation patterns/ ocean currents
Clicker question: Late winter, and in Maritimes, your friends agrees with that tulips have come out there
is still snow, what could be the cause?
a. Global warming, east
b. The coriolois effect, north
c. El Niño, doesn’t matter
d. Microclimate, south
- Flooding in Toronto – ppl in go train got stuck in it.
- El nino events – small regional local scale : microclimate scale
Microclimate: lots of plants growing, and 5 -6 m away nothing growing. Due to changes in climate in
whole place, maybe have more sun and dry quickly! Humans create microclimates?
- Thermal image of Toronto (sep 3 2008 @ 10 am)
- They looked at which areas responds to usage
- Different area usage, and plotted box plots
- Boxes – 50% data, each line on side (50% above/ below)
- Whiskers to point, and extra points outside
- Plot data ranges
- Looks like commercial areas much hoter than water bodies
The two data sets overlaid:
- Red – industrial: peak and highly focus industrial area. Light – dark density of industrial usage,
the redder areas are more industrial, the higher the peak – more temperature. High industries =
- Black – residential: Every residential very weak, combines with the industrial areas. Dark gray –
- Green – park humber valley/ forested/ geographical make up. Map reinforces that produce +
collect heat + very less release of heat. So residential areas have cooler areas such are parks.
- City planners more environment – what kinds of temperature?
- Cars – city design can change climate in area In UK, a mirrored building concentrated the
light and reflected it so burn badly the jaguar & restaurant carpet.
Lecture 4: Terrestrial and Aquatic plants
How do light and temperature behave under water?
[Physical factors that play a role., why is it imp?
How does light behave on land?
Aquatic life is deﬁned by the physics of water
- Very different environment that what we deal with everyday
- Why? Due to the physical property of water
- 4 points:
o More denser
o Viscous – moving through medium (ice[solid] and liquid) o Heat transfer
o Salinity – in ocean vs. fresh
o Physiological characteristic that enable fish to survive,
Light is important
- Light beginning of everything
- Even though difference in our living conditions, light is essential
Light attenuates with depth
- How light behaves under water in compared to air:
As soon as underwater light levels drop, good portion hitting surface of the lake, a
good proportion is reflected out. Light penetrating is less, than that that hit it.
GRAPH: As you go down, it drops off very quickly. 40% left, 20 m, and with
100m barely any.
Why? Light travelling through water, and water absorbs light. In water there are
organisms; plants absorb light as well, leading to overall dendine.
Overall light available is less than terrestrial environment, 2 the physical
GRAPH 2: different colors of light, they penetrate water at different lengths.
Left gone after 3-4 m. [idealize version – of aquatic bodies across, for eg. Arctic
lake not a lot of algae the properties change – average values: On average red
disappears as soon you as you go in water.
Orange – 20-40m, yellow – 70 m
Diving suits are black and yellow? Why? As you go deep you won’t be able to see
it, as it is absorbed.
Clicker #1: Your friend took a walk on beach and fish is brightly colored (death
on beach), and asks weather that fish could be deep sea fish?
§ Most likely yes
§ Most likely no
§ No idea.
ANSWER: Most likely No. Most average are gray, not colorful. See
colorful fish in coral reefs, shallow water – lots of life! Physical properties
of life/ water – adaptations of fish
Who’s been swimming in lake recently?
- Hop in water and swim out in the lake.
- Cold spots + hot spots -->certain parts cold, and other warm patches.
- Temperature is essential! Amount of light also inﬂuences temperature
- Graph: tempt on x axis, and depth on y
- In a body of water is a layering of temperature
- Not only across but depth as well
- 1) layer – Epiliminion: sun rays hit
- 2) Thermocline: Few rays hit, they spot is colder- 18 degrees to 5 – drastic decrease
- 3) Coldest temperature - remains constants
Thermoclines vary depending on season and location
- Lots of sun! not a lot of variability
- Depth on y axis from surface to 300 m, temp on x
- Relative warm water at surface
- Bottom is constant (quite lower than surface)
- Thermocline: are of fast climate change – as sunlight doesn’t change, therefore
thermocline doesn’t change much. You can choose any part of year, you can get
- Water makes layers more stable than air
- Winter: cold + windy + less sun.
o Not a lot of heat on top part, because of storms constant mixing of the top layer
thus water temp doesn’t change much from bottom and top.
- Spring: Increase in sunlight + wading of storms + heating of top layer, formation of
- Summer: lots of sun! Proper and pronounced 10 – 20 degree changes in thermoclime.
- Fall: cooling, less daylight, increase in storms mixing water layer. Why weakening
1. Less sunlight – water temp on top decreasing, more mixing from storms
2. Water layer at 20 degrees cooling up, warm water becomes cooler, it sinks.
Increasing the moxing in upper layer.
- Cold weather: straight line, same as winter for temperant. Ice cover – prevent even
more sun! No thermocline
- Spring: Might be a little less mixing – ice storm less, the ice melting. Something that
might warm up a bit. Research – no thermocline.
- Summer: Temperature haven’t changes that much, still in polar region. Little warmth
not as pronounced as in tropical regions. Might get something of thermocline
development, in some areas. Not too many storms.
- Fall: starting cycle again, top layer cooling, mixing layer below, less sunlight and
- Plotted biomass in graph - Blue: plant and red: animal
- Dependent of thermocline!
- Basic of food chain, the presence of thermocline has a affect on the animals/ plants
Temperature also affects sound speed
- Graph: Speed of sound on x
- Depth = oceans
- Speed profile of sound changes in the ocean
o Why? Temperature and depth
o Increase temp, increase sound speed
o The deeper the water, the quicker speed of sound
o Water surface – warm water – relative speed
o Temp decline = speed decline
o Thermocline – speed declines rapid!
o Bottom – temp stays constant:
o Depth the deeper you go, the sound increases
o Area of low sound speed: acoustic area – whale you produce , will bend
towards reaching the top. Sound traveling to depth, increase speed and reflect!
o Allow sound to be able to travel long distance, and reflect.
o Acoustic channel can communicate over 1000s of km.
o Sound frequency so low, we can’t hear it – 10 hertz of whale, we can hear 200
hz. The around heard in class is sped up.
Clicker question #2 If we have a lake that is temperature stratified lakes is due to the loss of
thermocline. This is initiated by…
a. Surface water cooling and sinking
b. Surface water warming and sinking
c. Deep water cooling and rising
d. Coroiolis effect.
Ans: A – none of the other options make sense!!! Hahaha
Clicker #3 The greatest constraint for life on land is:
2. Temperature fluctuations
3. UV radiation
Answer: All factors play a role. Greatest is Desiccation! Desiccation is dry out!
You need support on land
- Different structure - Grow up towards light
Light takes multiple paths on land
Changes on land a little bit – distribution of light
Walk into a forest, it becomes darker.
Within forest – in average forest, 2% hitting ground.
Same for grassier areas – sunlight affected by surface.
Very small comes to the bottom
Sun fleck :
- These patches light penetrates forest canopy and penetrates to bottom
- These sun fleck changes through time
Light takes multiple paths on land
- Graph – spikes = sun flecks
- Plants that grow on ground get 70-80% of light when it crosses them
Light conditions can change seasonally
- Seasons: lines – areas of similar light intensity
- 500 mol/ day, in the bottom – since no leaves on trees!
Environments pose speciﬁc limitations, which organisms have to adapt
- Where you are in the forest canopy?
- It shapes the organism
FRESH ECOLOGY :
- Humpback whales
- No body expected this find
- Migrate in summer/ winter – suppose to!
- Winter in north Atlantic in Caribbean, and breed there. Don’t feed there as not much
- Then they come to feed in summer to Canada. And same again
- Suppose to move all the way back to the tropic
Until recent study:
- Blue ice cover red triangles show you days, black device working/ not!
- Humpbacks in winter in arctic? Redraw map! - Triangle – traditional winter
- Winter – Antarctic whales there in winter! Same in Newfoundland
- Phone – record humpback sounds 24/7
Lecture 5: Plant Adaptations
The chemistry of the environment, and how the organism deals and interacts with the environment.
What are adaptations?
What does adaptation require? Structure
How do plants adapt to Canada? What does it mean? And what particular part of Canada?
Waking up from the dead?
Long dead plant, 10-15 years ago
Walk past as raining.
Video: in 5 hours, something that looks like you can crumble it and call death; to something
you call a living plant.
Basically can stay alive in dry [use minimal resources], and revive in short amount of rain.
Takes a few hour for it come up to normal plant form
Adaptation: Allow plants to survive
Range of area/ environmental conditions, an adaptation of plant may not be necessary or good.
Plants deal with variation in environments
The plant picture on the left is that of the false rose of Jericho
In which climate do you think these plants usually grow?
3 plants + Graph:
The graphs show the photosynthetic rate of 3 different species at 20 degrees and 50 degrees. The
photosynthetic rate shows how effective is it (plant) carrying our photosynthesis. Red line = 50 degrees
and Blue line: 20 degrees
Not much photosynthetic difference at different temperatures Do well at both hot/ warm temperature
Where? Temperate zone – here and mid US [ class student guess]. Grows in Middle Eastern
desserts – can deal with extreme hot and cold. As it is get evry hot in the afternoon and very
cool in night.
Hot climate! Desert plant In a tropical desert plant there are not large scale temp changes,
unlike this one.
Hot – raised in ho