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Chapter 1-3

BIO120H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-3: Parent Material, Ecophysiology, Annual Plant

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Spencer Barret

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Thursday, October 27, 2016
The Struggle for Existence!
Part I, II & III
-Basic aspects of living organisms - how we’re different from a rock!
ability to meet the challenges of an unrelentingly hostile environment!
to grow, reproduce, adapt, and diversify!
-Important big questions!
Why do you have to die?!
Why are there so many species of living things?!
-3 traditional subsets of ecology covered in lectures!
physiological ecology!
population ecology!
community ecology!
-Comparative method!
basic approach of examining how different organisms meet environmental challenges in
different ways!
strongest when we know how the species are related to each other!
-Distribution of species!
geographical range of a species (depicted by range map)!
-Why don’t species just spread out and appear everywhere? !
range limiting factors: climate and its interplay with physiology!
organisms grow best in a certain combinations of temperature and precipitation !
because of tradeoffs, its difficult for organisms to be well-adapted everywhere!
biomes: spatial variation in climate, where different sets of characteristics organisms can
be found!
-usually contains different types of soil, limiting what plant species can thrive there!
-species range limit often correspond to boundaries of different biomes!
-ex. places with more precipitation!

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Thursday, October 27, 2016
develop taller vegetation!
species-rich, more productive than dryer biomes!
-ex. warmer places !
supports bigger and more complex vegetation!
-seasonality of temperature and precipitation!
two regions with same annual cycle of temperature and annual rainfall, but rains in
different seasons —> support very different sets of organisms!
-Precipitation !
affects the distributions of plants and animals!
critical to whether water is available to organisms!
important to what mineral nutrients it contains!
directly influences vegetation, and vegetation influences soil!
-Soil: formed by action of living organisms and geophysical process on mineral
substrate (“parent material”)!
geological rather than ecological!
critical to the availability of water, and what mineral it contains!
soil influences vegetation; vegetation influences soil!
2 components: mineral component & organic component!
-mineral: comes from the parent material or imported, some of which is altered!
rock they are derived from!
-organic: decomposition and wastes of animals and plants!
plant roots and leaves!
animal wastes, decaying dead organisms!
Parent material: a geological subject rather than ecological !
-often a bedrock, but might also be something like sand deposited in an area by wind or
-Parent material is altered by biological processes and chemical actions such as
dissolution and precipitation!

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Thursday, October 27, 2016
-has a mineral component from the parent material!
-also has an organic component that includes the decomposition and waste products of
plants and animals.!
2 types of soil: rich vs poor!
-rich/ fertile: well-suited for plant growth (N, P, K + trace elements)!
-dry soils - xeric; water-saturated soil - hydric; intermediate soil - mesic!
-special adaptation is required in order for plant to grow in xeric and hydric!
-when soil becomes so decomposed that its sources is no longer recognizable, it
becomes humus!
-best kind of soil is called loams !
contains some sand, some clay and plenty of organic matters (helps soil stay mesic
and keep nutrient available)!
usually black in colour, because oxidized organic components make soil dark!
particles of soil components hold ions on their surface!
ions are acted upon by rainfall and snowmelt!
-depending on the pH of the soil, ions either dissolve or precipitate out!
If rainfall is heavy, dissolved nutrients are carried far down to deep aquifers in the soil,
below the reach of plant roots!
results in nutrient-poor soils!
amount of leaching depends on!
-the age of the soil!
-the amount of water that moves through the soil each year!
-the water-retaining capacity of the soil (sandy soil can’t hold water)!
rainfall is not heavy, water penetrate soil to moderate depth after storm!
water is returned to the environment!
ions stay in the rooting zone of the plants (NOT leached downward and out of the reach)!
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