Ecology Interactions Between Organisms and their Environments

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Interactions Between Organisms and their Environments

EcologyInteractions Between Organisms and their Environments1Population Growth Graphs

A: Slow growth as a population begins to grow

Birth Rate > Death RateKey Vocabulary to DefineEcosystemAbioticBioticpHAcidicBasicNeutral

These are words students must know at the end of the lesson3The organization of our world!

The earth is a biosphereEcosystems are the living and nonliving things in an areaPopulations are a group of one type of organism living in an area4Hierarchy of BiologyMoleculesOrganellesCellsTissuesOrgansOrgan systemsOrganismsPopulationsCommunitiesEcosystemsThis list, with a few deletions, is on my back wall in big words. It serves as a reminder of the organization, and it also covers test items with the answers like organism, population, community, ecosystem as levels in ecology! I refer to it as we move up and down the list during our studies.5What is ecology?Ecology: The study of the relationship between organisms and their environment

Example problems that ecology handles: How do humans affect the atmosphere and contribute to global warming? How does the population of wolves in an area affect the population of rabbits?Do clownfish (Nemo!) and anemone benefit each other?

Sell it to them!6Why does ecology matter?Ecology: The study of the relationship between organisms and their environment

Scenario: Imagine that there is an insect that lives on peanut plants growing on farms in Northampton County. Is there a way that we can limit insect damage to the peanut crops in order to decrease the price of peanuts at the store by 20 cents per pound?

Make it relevant to money in their pockets! Generate other examples using local resources!7How do we study environments?Quadrant Studies: Tracking changes in a small section of the environment

Students can model this and sampling in a mini-lab, or they can go outside and actually sample populations near the end of the unit, like dandelions in a field.8How do we study environments?Sampling: Only measuring a small, random part of an environment

9EcosystemsEcosystem: An area containing an interaction of living and non-living factors in an area/region

Example ecosystems: North Carolina forests (pine forests)Coastal Plains of NCOuter banks coastal water ecosystemLake Gaston ecosystem


Do you see living and non-living things in this ecosystem?11

PhD student at Duke participating in ecology research, using 2x2 quadrants to determine effects of biodiversity on nitrogen cycles in NC wetlands.12

Swamp in Big Cypress National Preserve, near Everglades National Park, Florida.13What is in an Ecosystem?Abiotic Factors: The non-living parts of an ecosystemRocks, soil, temperature, gases in the air, lightBiotic Factors: The living parts of an ecosystemPlants, animals, bacteria, fungusProducers: use light to make their own energyConsumers: eat other organisms to obtain energyDecomposers: break down dead organisms for energy

14BioticHumansBacteriaFungusPlantsInsectsAmphibiansReptilesMammalsBirdsAbioticWaterSoilWind or AirGases oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogenTemperatureSunlightpHAcid or base15Abiotic or Biotic?

Biotic (plant)Abiotic (rainwater)16Abiotic or Biotic?The air temperature is 45 degrees F = The soil is made of rocks and minerals =A bird lays eggs =Bacteria break down dead organisms = The pH or the water is 2 (acidic) =abioticabioticabioticbioticbiotic17Abiotic or Biotic?

BioticBioticBioticAbiotic18Which of the following is a relationship between abiotic and biotic factors?A) The rain on an open field washes away soilB) A hawk hunts a mouse and swoops down into the forest for the killC) A lake has very acidic water which causes many fish populations to dieD) A deer grazes in a field of grasses

AbioticBiotic19Energy Transfer in an EcosystemNCSCOS 5.02b20Food ChainsA food chain shows the flow of energy between the organisms in an environment

Food ChainsNotice that the arrow points from the organism being eaten to the organism that eats it.Like the burger you eat goes into youPlants Cow (burger) Human

What do the arrows in the food chain below indicate?SunlightEnergy flowHeat transferToxins

What is energy?The energy that is transferred in an ecosystem is stored in carbon-compounds, or organic compounds.Organic compounds: molecules that contain a carbon atomCarbohydrates: glucose, starch, cellulose (mostly plants)Proteins: the muscles of animals (steak!)Fats: in muscle of animal tissues (fatty steak!)

Food WebsWhen we put many food chains together in one ecosystem, it is called a food web

Food WebsFood webs show the direction that energy flows in an ecosystem.

Energy Moves in a Food Web

Plants make glucose from lightSome animals get glucose from plantsOther animals get energy from the fat and protein in other animalsParts of a Food WebProducers: organisms that use light to store energy in organic compounds. (examples: plants, algae, phytoplankton)

Parts of a Food WebWhere are the producers in the food web below?

Parts of a Food WebConsumers: organisms that eat other organisms to get organic compounds that they use for energy (examples: humans, cows, insects, birds)

Parts of a Food WebWhere are the consumers in the food web below?

Parts of a Food WebTertiary consumers: organisms that eat secondary consumers for energySecondary consumers: organisms that eat primary consumers for energyPrimary consumers: organisms that eat producers to obtain energy compounds

ProducerPrimary ConsumerSecondary ConsumerTertiary ConsumerHow is energy stored and transferred in an ecosystem?In lightIn oxygen and carbon dioxideIn carbon compounds like glucoseIn the process of decomposition

Which of the following organisms is a primary consumer in the ecosystem shown?HawkRabbitMountain lionFrog

Population Impacts in a Food WebIf the population of organisms at any level of the food web changes, it will affect the population at other levels

Population Impacts in a Food WebIf the population of producers decreases, then the population of primary consumers will decrease if they dont have enough food.

Population Impacts in a Food WebIf the population of primary consumers decreases, thenThe producers will increase because there are less consumers eating themThe secondary consumers will decrease because there is less food for them

Which organism would be most affected if the cricket population decreased?SnakeDeerFrogHawk

Energy PyramidsEnergy Pyramids show the amount of energy at each level of a food webTrophic Level: the total amount of energy in all organisms at one level in the food web.

Energy PyramidsMore energy at the bottom, decreases as the pyramid moves up the food web

More EnergyLess Energy41Energy Pyramid Labels

ProducersTertiary ConsumersPrimary ConsumersSecondary Consumers42Energy Transfer in Energy PyramidsEach trophic level of the energy pyramid supplies energy to the level above it.Each transfer loses 90% of the energyOnly 10% of the energy at a level is passed to the next level up!

Energy Transfer (percents)

100%0.1%10%1%44Energy Transfer (calories)

1,000 calories1 calorie100 calories10 calories45Energy Transfer in Energy PyramidsWe can say that the energy transfer from level to level is inefficient(not a lot of the energy at each level makes it up)This means that there cant be many levels ina food web or pyramidThe amount of energy decreases, and it cannot typically support organisms at higher levels than tertiary consumer

Why are there a limited number of energy levels in an energy pyramid or food web?Energy transfer is very efficientEnergy is captured as heatEnergy transfer is inefficientEnergy is not transferred in a food web

Energy Transfer and FlowNCSCOS 5.02a, 2.05bcHow does energy enter the food web?

Better question where does the weight of a producer come from?How does this... become this?

PhotosynthesisPhotosynthesis: a toxin process that occurs in producers and converts light, carbon dioxide, and water into glucose (sugar) and oxygen.

Carbon DioxideWaterGlucoseOxygenSunlightMore PhotosynthesisPhotosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the air.The carbon dioxide in the air is the building block for glucose.The light energy helps bond CO2 and H2O together to make glucose.The energy in light is now stored in the glucose molecule

Light CO2 H2OGlucoseO2Starch Fat(nuts)

How do consumers get energy?Digestion of organic moleculesConsumers eat other organisms to obtain organic molecules, which are forms of stored energy.Energy is stored in the bonds of the molecules.

The Carbon CycleNCSCOS 5.02aCarbon CycleCarbon is found throughout the environmentCarbon is found in the atmosphere and in water as carbon dioxide (CO2)Carbon is found in organisms as organic molecules, like glucose (sugars) and fatsCarbon is found buried in the ground as fossil fuelsCarbon CycleCarbon is cycled, or movesAtmosphere: Carbon is in the form of CO2

CO2Carbon Cycle2) Producers: Use photosynthesis to make sugars from CO2 in the atmosphere (carbon is moved!)

C6H12O6Carbon Cycle3) Consumers: Eat organic molecules and release CO2 into the atmosphere during respiration, or die and go into the soil


Carbon Cycle4) Soil: decomposers break down organisms, releasing carbon into the atmosphere OR trapping it in the ground (fossils)

Carbon Cycle5) Fossil Fuels: carbon from some dead organisms are trapped as fossil fuel until we burn it

Greenhouse Effect and Global WarmingGreenhouse EffectHeat is trapped near the Earths surface because o


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