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BIO120H1 (305)
Chapter 1

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James Thomson

Chapter 1Introductionall category BEcological systems interaction and interdependence between organisms and their environment Built of several levels which form a hierarchy they are organism converts resources into energy to power its functions population many organisms of the same kind that live together community interactions between different species within and area ecosystem include all of the different organisms within a fixed area separated from other areas by its conditions desert ecosystem prairie ecosystem etc biosphere interactions between all of the ecosystems in the Earth Science is a process and is not simply the knowledge that it generates Understanding is never absolute and ideas change and grow as more research is done Due to the hierarchies in ecology study is approached in a number of different but overlapping ways They are organism approach study of how an organisms physiology form and behavior allow it to survive its environment often includes the study of adaptations population approach variation in individuals sex ratio sizes of age and class groups genetic makeup of population etc over timebirth and death disease mutation community approach interaction between different species in a community feeding patterns movement of waste and nutrients through a food chain ecosystem approach organisms activities in terms of chemical necessities ie oxygen nitrogen sulphur etc and the movement of these nutrients through water soil and air by climate and other physical factors biosphere approach study of Ocean currents air flow climate variation and phenomena El Nino Different organisms serve different roles in ecological systems Plants perform photosynthesis to convert CO2 to O2 with the assistance of water and sun Animals feed on either plants or other animals that feed on plants in this respect plants feed all animals Fungi decompose dead plant and animal tissue eventually making these nutrients available to other living creatures Protists are highly diverse and mostly singlecelled They vary from algae to protozoans and beyond Many protists are parasitic Bacteria often live in anaerobic conditions and use alternate sources of energy as compared to many other organisms They are in many ways essential to the growth and livelihood of many organisms ie they live in humans intestinal tracts Symbiosis a close physical interaction between two organisms Mutualism refers to sysbiosis where both organisms benefit paratisism refers to symbiosis where one organism benefits to the detriment of the other Habitat the physical area where an organism lives Niche the range of conditions an organism can tolerant and its role within and ecological system ie its habitat what it eats how it interacts with other organisms time
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