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Final Exam, Chapter 52 Study Guide

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Course Code
EBIO 1220
Study Guide

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EBIO 1220 Study Guide: Final Exam
Professor Melbourne
Chapter 52: An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere
Ecology: the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the
Ecology integrates all areas of biological research and informs environmental
decision making
o Scope of Ecological Research:
Organismal Ecology
Includes the subdisciplines of physiological,
evolutionary, and behavioral ecology
How an organism’s structure, physiology, and behavior
meet the challenges posed by its environment
Population Ecology
Population: group of individuals of the same species
living in an area
Analyzes factors that affect population size and how and
why it changes through time
Community Ecology
Community: group of populations of different species in
one area
Examines how interactions between species such as
predation and competition affect community structure
and organization
Ecosystem Ecology
Ecosystem: the community of organisms in an area and
the physical factors with which those organisms
Emphasizes energy flow and chemical cycling between
organisms and the environment
Landscape Ecology
Landscape (seascape): is a mosaic of connected
Focuses on the factors controlling exchanges of energy,
materials and organisms across multiple ecosystems
o Linking Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Evolutionary time: interactions and subsequent adaptations
that occurs over many generations
Ecological time: minute-to-minute time frame interactions
between the organisms and the environment
Environmentalism vs. Ecology

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Environmentalism: the advocacy of protecting nature
Ecology: science
Ecological knowledge is often applied to Environmental
o Publication of Rachel Carlson’s Silent Spring
Warned against the widespread use of
pesticides like DDT, causing population
declines applied ecological principles to
recommend less wasteful, safer use of
pesticides led to bad on use of DDT
Interactions between organisms and the environment limit the distribution
of species
o Ecologists research where species occur, and why they occur there;
what factors determine species distribution?
o Biotic factors: living factors; all organisms that are part of the
individual’s environment
o Abiotic factors: nonliving factors; chemical and physical factors that
influence distribution and abundance
Spatial heterogeneity and temporal heterogeneityabiotic
factors vary in space and time
Daily and annual fluctuations of abiotic factors may blur
or accentuate regional distinctions
o Organisms can avoid stressful conditions
temporarily through behavior (dormancy,
Effects biological processes
o Cells rupture if too cold, proteins denature,
active metabolism
Temperatures outside specific range may force some
animals to expend energy regulating their internal
o Like mammals and birds
Water (availability)
Seashore or tidal wetlands species can desiccate as tide
Distribution of terrestrial species reflects their ability to
obtain and conserve water
o Desert organisms have lots of adaptations to
acquire and conserve water
Salt concentration of water affects the water balance of
organisms through osmosis

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o Most aquatic organisms are restricted to
freshwater or saltwater habitats by their ability
to osmoregulate
o Terrestrial species might have special glands to
excrete salt, or through feces, but there are few
plants or animals in salt flats or high salinity
Sunlight absorbed by photosynthetic organisms
provides the energy that drives most ecosystems
o Too little sunlight limits distribution of
photosynthetic species
Aquatic environments: most
photosynthesis occurs relatively near the
surface of the water
45% red light + 2% blue light/m
o Too much sunlight limits survival of organisms
High elevations environments: thinner
air, less UV radiation absorption, damage
to DNA and proteins in alpine
Also increases temperature stress
Rocks and Soil
Mineral composition, pH and physical structure of rocks
and soil limits distribution
o pH: direct limitations acidic or basic
conditions; indirect limitations solubility of
nutrients or toxins
o Substrate: affects the water chemistry
o Structure: determines the organisms that can
attach to it or burrow into it
o Climate: the long-term prevailing weather conditions in a particular
o Macroclimate: patters on the global, regional and local level
Global Climate Patterns
Determined largely by the input of solar energy and the
plant’s movement in space
Latitudinal Variation in Sunlight Intensity
o Sunlight strikes the tropics (23.5oN latitude-
23.5oS latitude) most directly, more heat and
light per unit of surface area are delivered there
o At higher or lower latitudes, sunlight strikes like
at an oblique angle, and less light energy
o Hot deserts occur at about 30° N and S latitude
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