Chapter 52

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Biological Sciences
Course Code
Kamini Persaud

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Chapter 52 Introduction to Ecology Ecology - is the scientific study of the rich and varied interactions between organisms and their environment - behavioural interactions among individuals of the same species may give rise to elaborate social systems; organisms also interact with individuals of different species and with their physical environment - these interactions influence the structure of COMMUNITIES (integrated group of species of microorganisms, plants, and animals inhabiting a given area), ECOSYSTEM (the organisms of a particular habitat together with the physical environment in which they live), and the BIOSPHERE (all regions of Earth and atmosphere in which organisms can live) - the term ENVIRONMENT encompasses both ABIOTIC factors and BIOTIC factors; interactions between organisms and their environment are two-way processes: organisms both influence and are influenced by their environment - an understanding of ecology allows us (1) to manage ecosystems, (2) to maintain the availability of goods and services, (3) allows us to grow food, (4) control pests and diseases, (5) and deal with natural disasters; (6) solve practical probles only if we know how and why those problems arise Climate Distribution - CLIMATE the average of the atmospheric conditions (temperature, precipitation and wind direction and velocity) found at a specific region over long term (as to weather being short term) - climates vary greatly everywhere on Earth because different places receive different amounts of solar energy and determine atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns: Atmospheric Patterns the differences in air temperature among different places on Earth are largely determined by difference in solar energy input the rate at which solar energy arrives on Earth depends on the angle of sunlight if the sun is low, a given amount of solar energy is spread over a large area (less intense) since the light must pass through more of Earths atmosphere so more energy is absorbed and reflected than if the sun is directly overhead therefore higher latitudes receive less solar energy than latitudes closer to the equator air temperature also decreases with elevation as air rises, it expands, its pressure and temperature drop, and releases moisture; when air descends, it is compressed, its pressure rises, temperature increases, and takes up moisture air rises when it is heated by the sun, so warm air rises in the tropics, which receive the greatest solar energy input; this rising air is replaced by air that flows in toward the equator from the north and south resulting to the coming of two air masses, the INTERTROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE the spinning of Earth on its axis also influences surface winds Earths velocity is rapid at the equator, where its diameter is greatest, but relatively slow close to the poles Oceanic Circulation Patterns the atmospheric patterns mentioned above drive the circulation patterns of surface ocean waters known as CURRENTS - organisms must adapt to changes in their environment at some in their lives, most organisms move, or are moved, to a new place: to find a better place to reproduce, to live when local conditions deteriorate; a phenomenon known as DISPERSAL if repeated seasonal changes alter the environment, organisms may evolve life cycles; MIGRATION is one response other animals enter a resting state (ex: estivation, hibernation, diapause) ex: (1) plants adapt to hot conditions be reducing water loss and avoid overheating by shifting the position of their leaves; (2) lizards bask in the sun in the morning, move to shade when it gets too hot; (3) morphological and physiological features have evolved Biomes - a major division of terrestrial ecological environment of Earth defined by growth forms of its plants Tundra found in the Arctic at high elevations in mountains at all latitudes
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