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Biology 2F03: Fundamental and Applied Ecology Chapter 1: Introduction to Ecology What is Ecology? - Ecology is the branch of science dedicated to the study of relationships between organisms and the environment - Natural selection is as strong a force in cities as in pristine natural areas, and how individual organism interact with their local environment influences their success - No single area on the landscape is in complete isolation, and activities in one area can influence the interactions among organisms and their environment in another - Changes to the environment influencing organisms - Ecology is a science and not a political philosophy or way of life - Understanding the mechanisms causing the patterns that occur in the natural world Overview of Ecology - Addresses environmental relationships ranging from those of individual organisms to factors influencing the state of the entire biosphere - Physiological ecologist study the morphological and physiological mechanisms organisms use to gather energy and cope with biotic and abiotic stressors in the environment - Behavioural ecologist focus principally on the determinants of individual behaviour, and how that can influence interactions among individuals and the environment - Population ecology is centred on the factors influencing population structure and dynamics, where a population is a group of individuals of a single species inhabiting a defined area - Community ecology: individuals interact with others from a number of species - Ecosystem ecology: understand the control on nutrient cycling and energy flow through ecosystems - Landscape ecology: study of exchanges of materials, energy, and organisms with other communities and ecosystems - Landscapes are part of regions subject to large-scale and long-term regional processes, macroecology - Biosphere: global ecology The Ecology of Forest Birds: Old Tools and New - Five warbler species that live together in the spruce forest of northeastern North America, are the same size and feed upon insects - How can species with apparently similar ecological requirements coexist - Warblers fed mainly by gleaning insects from the bark and foliage of trees - Warblers might be able to coexist and not compete with each other if they fed on insects living in different zones within the trees - Feeding in different zones may reduce competition among the warblers of spruce forests - American redstarts are long-distance migrants, nesting in temperate North America during the summer, and spending the winters in tropical Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean islands - Success of an individual migratory bird during the breeding season depends on the conditions it experienced on its tropical wintering grounds - Early arrivals on breeding grounds are in better physical condition, obtain the best breeding territories and have higher reproductive success - In Jamaica, older male American redstarts, along with some females, spend the winter in higher-productivity
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