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BIO120H1 (305)

Definitions and Terms

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University of Toronto St. George
James Thomson

BIO 120 reading notes Ecology: The body of knowledge concerning the economy of nature—the investigation of the total relations of the animal both to its organic and to its inorganic environment; including above all, its friendly and inimical relation with those animals and plants with which it comes directly or indirectly into contact—in a word, ecology is the study of all the complex interrelationships referred to by Darwin as the conditions of the struggle for existence. Thus, it is the science by which we study how organisms interact in and with the natural world Biosphere: (Process: Global processes). All the ecosystems of the earth Ecosystem: (Process: Energy flux and cycling of nutrients). An assemblage of organisms together with their physical and chemical environments Community: (Process: Interactions among populations; the unit of biodiversity). An association of interacting populations, usually defined by the nature of their interaction of the place in which they live Population: (Process: Population dynamics; the unit of evolution). The individuals of a particular species that inhabit a particular area Organism: (Process: Exchange of energy and materials with environment; survival of reproduction; the unit of natural selection; behaviour). They are bounded by a membrane or other covering across which it exchanges energy and materials with its environment. Organisms transform energy and process materials by acquiring energy and nutrients from their surroundings and rid themselves of unwanted waste products. Ecological niche modeling: A method of predicting the distribution of a species from limited information about the range of conditions where individuals of that special are known to occur Natural experiment: An approach to hypothesis testing that relies on natural variation in the environment to create reasonably controlled experimental treatments Mathematical model: A representation of a complex system by a set of equations corresponding to the hypothesized relationships of each of the system’s components to its other components and to outside influence Observational study: A fact, pattern, or relationship seen in nature that invites explanation or speculation Microcosm experiment: A small, simplified system, often maintained in a laboratory, that contains the essential features of a larger natural system Distribution: The geographic area occupied by a population Organism approach: An approach to ec
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